NC State Wolfpack at Pittsburgh Panthers – NCAAM February 17

NC State (8-9, 4-8) at Pitt (9-7, 5-6)

  • Time: 1:30PM PST | 3:30PM CST | 4:30PM EST
  • Location: Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • TV: ACC Network

Opening Tip

The Wolfpack is trying to right the ship after losing four out of five games and eight out of 10 which pushed them to 12th in the ACC. The first stop in a three-game road swing sees Pittsburgh, a team that NC State has dominated since the Panthers came into the ACC as the ‘Pack sports a 10-1 mark.

Pitt has lost five out of six, but is still tied in the loss column for eighth place with Duke and Georgia Tech.

Vs. The Spread

NC State:

  • The Wolfpack is 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of NCSU’s last 6 games
  • The ‘Pack is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 – NC State-Pitt games

Pitt:

  • The Panthers are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games
  • Pitt is 6-3 SU in it’s last 9 home games
  • The Panthers are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games

Last Time Out

North Carolina State lost to Duke, 69-53, as freshman Shakeel Moore scored 13 points and Jericole Hellems and D.J. Funderburk added 11. The Wolfpack shot 45 percent from the floor, but NCSU was only 2-of -10 from three and turned the ball over 18 times.

Xavier Johnson scored a layup with 4:36 to play as Pittsburgh finally drew even with Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets closed on a 16-10 clip to defeat Pitt, 71-65. Ithiel Horton led the Panthers with 18 points and 15 rebounds while Au’Diese Toney added 15 points with 13 coming in the second half.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
NC State +4 (-105) +165 O 141.5 (-107)
Pitt -4 (-115) -190 U 141.5 (-113)

Advantage, NCSU

Bad news in a tough season for coach Kevin Keatts as senior guard Devon Daniels was lost on Jan. 27 to an ACL injury (16.5 ppg, 3.1 apg). Moore has stepped in and has played well on the defensive end, in particular, although the slide of four losses in five games has come since Daniels’ injury. NCSU is averaging 16 turnovers per game in the last four and that is feeding losses as opponents are scoring an average of 17.8 points in those four.

Key Wolfpack Stat:

Defending has been tough for the Wolfpack as opponents average 46.7 percent from the field opponents tee it up from long distance at a 36.1 percent clip. Duke and Syracuse made a combined 18-of-37 threes in the last two games and will need to be on notice against Horton and Johnson, who have proven to be the Panthers’ two best three-point shooters with 36 and 23 makes, respectively.

X-Factor:

The length and the ability of Manny Bates (9.7 ppg, 63.5%) and Funderburk (11.9 ppg, 56.4%) to stay out of foul trouble and produce in their matchup with Pitt’s Justin Champagnie is a key storyline in the game. Bates has 48 blocked shots on the season and reached 100 just 45 games into his Wolfpack career. Both of these players are high volume scorers and should take the fight to Pitt in the paint and on the boxes.

Advantage, Pitt

Justin Champagnie (18.7 ppg, 11.6 rpg) is doing everything anyone would ask of an ACC Player of the Year as he is shooting 52.6 percent from the field and is a matchup problem for any big as he can step on the perimeter and drain the trey. The ability for Au’Diese Toney (14.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Xavier Johnson (14.1 ppg, 6.1 apg) to get to the basket and convert or find Champagnie is a huge issue for the Wolfpack sans Daniels. Both have gotten to the line 82 times with Johnson passing 97 assists.

Key Panthers Stat:

Pitt’s defense needs an injection after Virginia and Georgia Tech combined to make 47-of-94 field goals and shoot an even 50 percent in the last two games. The Panthers have to keep Bates and Funderburk pushed away from the basket while using their length and athleticism on the perimeter to create turnovers. Pittsburgh has averaged 14.7 points per game off of opponents’ turnovers in the last three games.

X-Factor:

The Panthers have out rebounded their last four opponents and have been more of a fixture on the offensive glass as Pitt has 10.3 points per game over the last four. NC State is at a (-1.2) on the year on the glass, so advantage Pittsburgh in this part of the matchup.

Winner: Pitt (-4) 72, NC State 67

The Bets
Pittsburgh Panthers -4
-115
Pittsburgh Panthers
-190
UNDER 141.5
-113
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.

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