#11 North Carolina State Wolfpack (24-12) vs #2 Kansas Jayhawks (29-6)
Friday March 23
MIdwest Region - St. Louis, MO
Moneyline: No money line currently listed
Spread: Kansas -8
North Carolina State
I have to give credit where credit is due. I thought the N.C. State Wolfpack were a terrible choice for the Tournament and they would meekly exit confirming it. In the first two rounds they have beaten higher seeds, who also happened to be nationally ranked teams for most the season in San Diego State and Georgetown. Perhaps they are a case of a team that is peaking at the right time or perhaps they are actually good. I am undecided but leaning to the latter at this point.
The Wolfpack have been winning because they have been dominating up front. Forward C.J. Leslie gets routinely criticized for not fulfilling his prep promise but he has gotten much more consistent as the season progressed. Also, burly rebounder Richard Howell has become a scoring threat, averaging 15 points per game in the tournament. This team is deeper than you think too, with 5 players scoring in double figures for the season. Maybe the ACC isnít as down as we thought.
Kansas is in the Sweet Sixteen. It is hardly new territory for this blue blood program but how much further can they advance? They get a nice draw in NC State but they will have to be ready from the get go this time around. Against Purdue they found themselves in a big hole early and the way the Wolfpack are playing right now they wonít let them back in the game the way that the Boilermakers did.
There is no mystery to the Jayhawks this year. In forward Thomas Robinson they have one of the elite players in college and point guard Tyshawn Taylor is one of the better lead guards in the country. Both are capable of big games but when no one else steps up this team is very beatable. Center Jeff Withey and guard Elijah Johnson we are all wondering what you are going to do next.
Spread Pick: Kansas -8
O/U Pick: Under
Score Prediction: Kansas 70 - NC State 60