North Dakota State vs. North Carolina Central - 3/20/19 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
North Carolina Central at North Dakota State
Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 5:40 PM (University of Dayton Arena)
North Dakota State -5.5 -- Over/Under: 135
The North Carolina Central Eagles and North Dakota State Bison will square off at University of Dayton Arena this Wednesday night in a First Four matchup of the NCAA Tournament.
The North Carolina Central Eagles (18-15; 10-6 MEAC) reached their third straight NCAA Men’s Tournament after defeating the Norfolk State Spartans, 50-47, this past Saturday. North Carolina Central came into the MEAC as the 3-seed this season, however, was able to take out the 2-seed North Carolina A&T Aggies in the semifinals before taking out the top-seeded Spartans in the Championship game. North Carolina Central struggled offensively agianst Norfolk State, however held the Spartans to just 34.0% shooting from the field while outrebounding Norfolk State by a 41-29 margin in their victory. Leading the way for the Eagles was Zacarry Douglas who had a double-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds, and a steal.
On the season, North Carolina Central is averaging 71.4 ppg on 45.6% shooting from the field. The Eagles are averaging 6.4 three-pointers per game on 31.5% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, North Carolina Central has been led by Raasean Davis (14.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.2 bpg), Jibri Blount (10.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.0 spg), Larry McKnight Jr. (9.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.0 apg), and Zacarry Douglas (8.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.2 apg).
Defensively, North Carolina Central is holding their opponents to an average of 66.3 ppg on 43.4% shooting from the field. The Aggies have a rebound margin of 6.5 and a turnover margin of -1.9.
The North Dakota State Bison (18-15; 9-7 Summit) came into the Summit League Men’s Championship as the 4-seed, however, the Bison got a fortunate upset which knocked out the top-seed South Dakota State Jackrabbits in the 1st round and was able to knock off the 2-seed Omaha Mavericks, 73-63, the championship game to earn the automatic bid. North Dakota State’s defense was outstanding limiting the high-scoring offense of the Mavericks and although they let Omaha fight back after they led by a 41-27 margin at halftime, the Bison was able to take the lead for good after a 9-0 run gave North Dakota State a 60-51 lead with just 3:16 left in regulation. North Dakota State shot 47.2% from the field and committed just 5 turnovers in the victory. Leading the way for the Bison was Vinnie Shahid who had 22 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists.
On the season, North Dakota State is averaging 73.2 ppg on 45.6% shooting from the field. The Bison are averaging 9.5 three-pointers per game on 36.6% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, North Dakota State has been led by Vinnie Shahid (12.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.7 apg), Tyson Ward (12.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.3 apg), Deng Geu (9.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg), and Jared Samuelson (7.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 spg).
Defensively, North Dakota State is allowing their opponents to average 72.2 ppg on 46.1% shooting from the field. The Bison have a rebound margin of -1.4 and a turnover margin of -0.7.
The Eagles are 7-1-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall and 3-1-2 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS win. The Bison are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games following a straight up win and 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
North Carolina Central has been led by their defense this season, which comes into game ranked 50th in scoring defense & 17th in rebound margin, however, the Eagles haven’t had much success in their latest two First Four matchups, which included a 64-46 loss to Texas Southern last year. North Dakota State took some time finding their footing this season as they started their season with just a 2-7 record, however, the Bison have won 9 of their last 12 games and have been solid offensively as they come into this match-up ranked 154th in scoring offense, 33rd in three-pointers made per game, and 10th in FT%.
It’s been an impressive run for North Carolina Central over the last few years, however, the MEAC is one of the weakest conferences in the NCAA and the Eagles weren’t very impressive in their non-conference schedule as the majority of their wins in their first 14 games came against non-DI programs. North Dakota’s defense shouldn’t have any problem slowing down a weak North Carolina Central offense and as I think the Bison will be able to put up some points, I think North Dakota State does enough to cover this spread.