ESB “GAME OF DAY”: LOUISVILLE @ NC STATE PREVIEW (1-2-20)
ELITE SHADOW BETS STAFF: ESPN CBB “GAME OF DAY” FULL PREVIEW: SAT. FEB. 1ST, 2020
CAN NC STATE KNOCK OFF FIRST PLACE/STREAKING LOUISVILLE IN RALEIGH TO START FEBRUARY ACC PLAY?
VEGAS BETTING ODDS: LOUISVILLE (-3) @ NC STATE ~ TOTAL: (140 1/2)
LOUISVILLE CARDS: (18-3) – (9-1 ACC PLAY) ~ NC STATE WOLFPACK: (14-7) – (5-5 ACC PLAY)
Well a now all week long trend will carry into a big ACC game on Saturday as we start February play with a contest that is for one team a possibly “MUST WIN” situation, much like we have seen other teams be faced with since this week started. Earlier we had Virginia, Texas Tech and Indiana facing spots where a big win this week could really bolster a resume that come seasons end may not be good enough without picking off a big win over a really good team. Virginia and Texas Tech got those much needed wins and Indiana did not. Saturday in Raleigh the NC State, a team right now very much on the Bubble, with a chance to pick of a top ranked team (#6 Louisville) and beat them while they are scorching hot (7 straight wins). These are the type of wins that come Committee decision time that may just sneak you above a few other teams. I will say NC State has endured some tough injuries and often has played without a full deck. This team is a senior laden team many felt would be a Top 20 team this year. Right now they just are sputtering.
Many expected Louisville to be a very strong club this year and they currently sit at the top of the ACC Standings at (9-1), one game up on Duke and Florida State. Interestingly they beat Duke on the Road and lost at Home to Florida State. The Cards are a perfect (5-0) on the Road this season and they have their best player, and possibly CBB Player of the Year J. Nwora, coming off his best game of the season, 37 points where he hit 7 threes. The Cards team his a dozen 3’s, also a season high. The ACC though this year is possibly it’s worst in a decade as it’s mostly L’ville, Duke and Florida State with a huge drop off after those 3. They are averaging 78 points per game their last 4 games. They are also one of the rare top 20 in both departments, Off and Def Effeciency. It’s no shock they lead the ACC right now.
NC State plain and simple has not played physical of late and their shooting has really gone cold. They are averaging nearly 20 points per game less than the Cards, 59 points, and so they have their work cut out for them to get hot and fast. At (5-5) in the ACC they must play their best 40 minutes of the season. The key figure for the Wolfpack that must quickly get out of an ice cold shooting funk is Guard CJ Bryce, who 3 games ago, led the team in scoring. He turned in an almost unthinkable (0-12) the past 2 games combined, both Wolfpack losses, and worst of all, to two not good ACC teams (both under .500 teams). When he does not score in double digits this season, the team is just (2-3). I mentioned earlier this is a Senior laden Wolfpack team and another key Senior struggling to shoot the rock is M. Johnson, who came into this season a very good 3 point shooter, but now sits at just 25% with his 3’s and an equally horrific 54% at the FT line. Sadly another Senior P. Andree also missed the past 3 games and what we have is a Wolfpack team just in much disarray.
Last year L’Ville beat NC State 84-77 and they have won 4 of the past 5 meetings. They need to amp their game on both sides of the ball in a big way to beat this sizzling hot Cards team. They do have one nice advantage for his contest as they will be at home playing before one of the best Home Fans in all of CBB, nearly 20k will be cheering loudly and for the Wolfpack’s sake you hope it puts some extra pep in their step, as they really have lost it. The most concerning loss was the other night when they were at Home playing their biggest rival North Carolina, who is playing with a depleted squad, and they threw the biggest egg of the season in a double digit loss. Some I read claim they were looking ahead to this big game vs. the Cards. I call bullshit. NC State never looks past it’s biggest rival the Tar Heels. I call it like it is, they have just not played good hoops and really haven’t often this season. At (5-5) in ACC play and with just 3 big chances after this game to pull of a “resume win”, they almost have to get this win Saturday. Another loss having them fall to (5-6) could break their spirit going forward. The Cards can afford a loss here suffering no real damage when seeding comes around, but you also have to know the Cards would love to win this ACC Regular season crown. They have just 2 really difficult games the rest of way, Virginia at Home and Florida State (rematch) on Road in 24 days. So the Wolfpack caught no breaks where maybe L’ville comes in unfocused. You will get some tiny value as the Wolfpack are Home and grabbing points (+3) and not laying them. They have a Senior laded team that clearly knows fully they almost have to build a resume right now not good enough to make the Big Dance. You can change your season with one big win. NC States kids know this and should play harder. The final question is can they shoot the ball better than the ice cold of late they have shot it. L’ville is on a 7 game win streak thanks to some red hot shooting and winning long term bettors don’t go in front of that, especially with a team shooting frigid cold and playing soft as well. The time has come for the Wolfpack to play as expected when the season started and add to two pretty solid wins so far (Wisconsin and the Defending Champs Virginia) with a win over the #6 ranked team in the nation.
Enjoy this game on ESPN at 2pm/pst and hope you all have a WINNING weekend ahead with all your wagers. Be sure to check out our Hottest Capper, THE NETWORK, as they are steam rolling the bookmakers the past month and also check out our TOP Football Capper this season, BET VEGAS PROS, as they look to finish out their fantastic season with a big Super Bowl winner for Sunday.
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