NIT, First Round – March 18, 2020
NC State (13-10) vs. Davidson (13-8)
- Time: 6 PST – 8 CST – 9 EST
- Place: UNT Coliseum, Denton, Texas
- TV: ESPN
These are two teams who had designs on the NCAA Tournament, but COVID-19 interruptions costed the Wildcats their rhythm and momentum as they were postponed nine times and had a three-game winning streak before covid intercepted their program for a stretch between Jan. 24 and Feb. 19.
Davidson has lost three of it’s last five which included two defeats at the hands of Atlantic 10 champions St. Bonaventure and then a 64-52 decision to VCU in the A-10 semis.
NC State had won four in a row to end the season, but the Wolfpack ran into hot shooting Syracuse in the ACC Tournament and lost, 89-68, at the hands of the Orange. NC State was 2-8 in 10 games before the four-game winning streak as much of that stat was due to the loss of point guard Devon Daniels for the season due to an injury.
The Wolfpack has won 25 of the last 27 in the series and the teams haven’t played since 2008 when Steph Curry lit up the ‘Pack for 44 points in a 72-67 Davidson win.
Sometimes, the NIT is all about motivation and the will to play. This season with the COVID-19 theme and the interruptions, that motivation is going to be higher across the boards.
It’s still very questionable as to why the NIT would relocate to Texas with the lack of attention to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and the larger numbers that are being reported by health authorities in Texas.
Vs. The Spread
- The Wolfpack is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of NCSU’s last 6 games
- State is 6-2-1 ATS in it’s last 9 vs. the Atlantic 10
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Davidson’s last 6 games
- The Wildcats are 0-19 SU in their last 19 vs. the ACC
- DC is 6-1 SU in it’s last 7 games when playing as the favorite
Last Time Out:
Hot shooting Buddy Boeheim carried NC State with a barrage of three-pointers as Syracuse defeated the Wolfpack, 89-68, in Round 1 of the ACC Tournament. DJ Funderburk led the Wolfpack, who shot 36.2 percent from the floor, with 14 points.
Davidson dropped a 64-52 decision to VCU in the A-10 semis as the Wildcats also had a tough shooting night at 29.8 percent. Kellan Grady led Davidson with 13 points.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|NC State||+1½ (-110)||+105||O 138 (-110)|
|Davidson||-1½ (-110)||-125||U 138 (-110)|
Assuming that motivation is at a peak, the Wolfpack could assert itself inside with big men DJ Funderburk (53.1%-FG) and Manny Bates (61.3%-FG). This duo combines physicality and athleticism in the paint as Davidson’s Sam Mennenga and Luka Brajkovic. Davidson’s duo defends generally well without getting into foul trouble but Funderburk is going to bring a high level of physicality on both ends while Bates has blocked 62 shots this season.
Key Wolfpack Stat:
The Wolfpack has can also get after the Wildcats from behind the arc as the team makes 36.5 percent of it’s three-pointers on the season as five players have between 30-31 makes on the season. Braxton Beverly leads with 31, but Jericole Hellems’ accuracy (39.1%) and his athleticism on the perimeter could be a problem from Davidson.
Davidson hustles and makes plays on the boards as the Wildcats have a (+5.0) advantage. Couple that with NC State, who is a (-1.7) despite the presence of Funderburk and Bates.
The Wildcats always like to spread the floor and hit the three and the Wolfpack’s opponents have been successful in doing so. State is a paltry 35.6 percent defensively from distance. Teams are teeing it up as the have shot 110 three vs. the Wolfpack in the last five games. Davidson averages 10 threes per games as Kellan Grady (39.7%-3) has 58 and Hyungjung Lee (43.9%-3) has 50. Davidson has made 26 triples in their last two games.
Key Wildcats Stat:
Coach Bob McKillop’s teams are always efficient on the offensive end. They make 56.8 percent of their two-point shots while N.C State allows 50.6 percent. This stat plays in the favor of the multi-talented Brajkovic who makes 52.9 percent of his baskets.
Carter Collins (11.2 ppg) is another senior beside of Grady who has grown up through McKillop’s program and is a consistent shooter as well as ballhalndler. Collins makes 38.2 percent of his threes and gets to the line off the dribble as well.
Winner: Davidson (-1½) 70, NC State 67