BANKER (NC State vs. Virginia Tech)
NC state has been very hot and cold this season to this point, but 9.5 points seems like too many for a Virginia tech team who at times has a very anemic offense. NC state has also played their best this season with their backs against the wall. As 15-point underdogs, they should have beaten Purdue but lost in overtime. While NC State comes into this game losing 5 in a row, they have stayed within 9.5 in each of those games, so they have been playing very close games lately but haven’t been able to translate them into wins.
Virginia tech is a solid team who comes into this game with an 8-5 record, but they have struggled against better competition. Their best win is a blowout win over St Bonaventure but other than that, they have not been very impressive at all. They lost by 11 to Duke and didn’t cover, they lost to wake Forest by 19 as 9-point favorites, they lost to Dayton by 5 as 3-point favorites, and they lost to Xavier by 1 as 4-point favorites, so they really have not done well as favorites this year at all. Virginia tech is a very solid defensive team, but NC state has a potent offense that can keep them in the game.
NC state is 63rd in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, 12th in lowest turnover percentage, and 78th offensive rebounding percentage. Conference games are always more intense because they mean way more than cupcake games with 20-point spreads to I expect NC state’s best effort tonight. I think this will be a close game throughout and 9.5 just seems like too many against a team like NC state who has a very explosive offense. Score Prediction: 78-73 Virginia Tech
Providence is maybe the story of the year so far in college basketball as they are off to a 13-1 start with wins over seton hall, UConn, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Vermont, and Rhode Island. They lead the nation in Quad 1 runs which basically means they have more high-quality wins than any team in the country. They come into this game facing a Marquette team who really lacks identity on both sides of the ball. They don’t really do anything that well and struggle on both sides of the ball at times.
They are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Creighton in OT as Creighton hit a shot at the buzzer to force another OT where Marquette eventually lost. Providence is led by big man Nate Watson who is averaging 14/6/1 and is an all-big East performer. Watson should be the best player on the floor in this matchup and I expect him to control the paint and use his experience to perform well in this road atmosphere. Score Prediction: 72-64 providence
Wake Forest is another surprising team this year and most people were not sure how they would look coming off a horrible season in the ACC, but they have retooled with transfers and now look like a completely different team. They have gotten off to an impressive 11-3 start with their only losses coming against LSU, at Louisville, and at Miami. They were underdogs for all 3 of those matchups and now they get a home game against an FSU squad that has struggled against top tier competition this year.
FSU got blown out by Purdue and Florida and lost close games to South Carolina and Syracuse in games that they should have won easily. FSU is not as stood as they usually are on the defensive side of the ball and I think that will be their downfall here as Wake Forest has an electric offense at times led be Oklahoma transfer Alondes Williams and Indiana State transfer, Jake LaRavia. Score Prediction: 81-74 Wake Forest.