One college basketball tournament is officially in the books, as the Pepperdine Waves were awarded the CBI Championship on Wednesday night. Pepperdine pulled away from Coastal Carolina for a big 84-61 win. We still have another tournament to complete not named the NCAA Tournament. The NIT Tournament continues on Thursday night with the semifinal round.
Typically this tournament includes 32 teams, but this year has 16 teams because of Covid-19. This is generally a wide-open tournament and 2021 is no exception. Anybody can win, with a slight edge to probably the Memphis Tigers. Memphis brought Houston to the wire, and weren’t that far off from going to the NCAA Tournament.
The NC State Wolfpack and Colorado State Rams will play for the right to go to the NIT Championship on Thursday evening at the Comerica Center in Frisco. NC State is coming off a 75-61 win over Davidson in the quarterfinal to reach this round. Derek Funderbank had a productive outing, as he poured in 21 points to lead all scorers.
NC State were bounced by the Syracuse Orange, 89-68, to lose in the first round of the ACC Tournament. There’s no shame in losing against a Sweet Sixteen squad that has a decent enough chance of reaching the Final Four. Syracuse peaked at the right time, and their win over NC State was part of that surge for the Orange.
The Wolfpack were rolling in good form prior to that loss against Syracuse. They were winners in five straight games, including a 68-61 win over ranked Virginia, Pittsburgh, 65-62, and Notre Dame, 80-69. They can play good basketball, but just a bit spotty overall. The Wolfpack enter Thursday night with a record of 14-10.
Colorado State got to this point after a close 75-73 win over the Buffalo Bulls. They were bounced in the second-round of the Mountain West Tournament against Utah State, 62-50. Like NC State, Colorado State was on and off this season, which is something you can say for most NIT teams. Head below for our free NC State vs. Colorado State pick on March 25, 2021.
NC State Wolfpack vs. Colorado State Rams NIT Tournament Betting Odds:
NC State vs. Colorado State Prediction:
The schedule was far more for NC State in the ACC than Colorado State in the Mountain West. There weren’t really any clear contenders in the Mountain West this season. A few good teams by Mountain West standards, but nobody was competing on the national level. NC State had the 63rd strength of schedule in the NCAA this season.
Conversely, Colorado State was out of the top-100 with the 108th rated strength of schedule. Colorado State were 66th in the NCAA with 75.9 points scored per game. I highly doubt that the Rams would be scoring that many points on an ACC schedule. Having said that, NC State can’t get sloppy and give the Rams open shots. Colorado State can shoot the ball at a high clip, with a field goal percentage of 48.2%.
They’re also solid from downtown, with a three-point percentage of 36.8% for 51st in the country. The Wolfpack did a terrific job against Davidson in the first-round of the NIT at holding their offense in check. Overall on the season, NC State has conceded 69.4 points per game this season, which is a fairly respectable number given their schedule in the ACC. Despite the loss against Syracuse in the ACC Tournament, the Wolfpack have been in great form since mid-February.
They’ve won six of their last seven games, and held five of those teams to fewer than 70 points. Colorado State has gone 2-2 in their previous four outings, with a 85-82 loss against Nevada, win over Fresno State, 72-62, loss against Utah State, 62-50, and the recent win in the NIT against Buffalo, 75-73. The Wolfpack look like the right side here. I trust a decent ACC team over a decent Mountain West team much more.