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Iowa State Cyclones vs. North Carolina Central Eagles - 3/21/14

North Carolina Central Eagles (28-5) at Iowa State Cyclones (26-7)

College Basketball: Friday, March 21, 2014 at 9:50 PM (AT&T Center)

The Line: Iowa State Cyclones -8.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: TNT

The North Carolina Central Eagles and Iowa State Cyclones will play Friday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Eagles won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Cyclones won the Big 12.

The Eagles are a solid basketball team that hasn’t lost a game since January 11. North Carolina Central averages 73.9 points on 46.3 percent shooting and allows 58.5 points on 37.3 percent shooting. North Carolina Central is led by senior guard Jeremy Ingram, who averages 20.6 points and 3.8 rebounds. North Carolina Central averages 36 rebounds and shoots 72.7 percent from the free throw line. The Eagles have allowed 62 or fewer points in 12 of their last 13 games and are 2-1-1 ATS overall this season.

Iowa State Cyclones vs. North Carolina Central Eagles - 3/21/14

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State will go as far in the tournament as its offense takes it. The Cyclones average 82.9 points on 47.1 percent shooting. Iowa State has four players averaging at least 10.7 points and is led by senior forward Mevlin Ejim, who averages 18.1 points and 8.5 rebounds. Defensively, the Cyclones allow 73.9 points on 41.4 percent shooting. Iowa State has scored 90-plus points twice in its last two games. The Cyclones are 16-15 ATS overall this season.

This has the feeling of being one of those tournament games between a high and low seed that tends to be a lot closer than it probably should be. North Carolina Central has become accustomed to winning and plays elite level defense. The Eagles were also competitive early in the season against Cincinnati and Wichita State, losing by 13 and 11 points respectively.

There’s no question Iowa State has the better athletes and has had the tougher road, but the Cyclones are also a jump shooting team that can get rattled a bit at times.

The Cyclones will win, but I’ll take North Carolina Central and all of the points I can get. The Eagles defense will keep this game close. 

North Carolina Central Eagles +8.5

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