Virginia and NC State both face an uphill battle to get into the NCAA Tournament, but a win on Wednesday would be a big feather in the cap of either team. Virginia is a 5-point home favorite, with an over/under of 130.5 points. Find NC State vs Virginia predictions and odds below.
NC State vs. Virginia Prediction
Virginia’s offense is still nothing to be inspired by. The Cavaliers put forth a nice effort against Georgia Tech over the weekend, largely because Isaac McKneely’s threes were falling, but a 47-point effort against Wake Forest and difficulties against NC State just two weeks ago are causes for concern.
The Cavaliers’ defense has been excellent at home, however, and they haven’t lost in their own building for that reason. Can the unit hold up on Wednesday?
NC State found a way to break Virginia’s defense in their last matchup, shooting 49% from the field. That mark likely isn’t realistic on the road as Virginia is holding opponents under 40% shooting on the season. Getting the opportunity to attempt 28 threes again also might be a challenge with the way Virginia prefers to slow games down.
Can NC State win a slower game on the road? No team has done so this season against UVA, and only one has managed to keep the game within eight points. This is where Tony Bennett’s teams are at their best, and I would expect Virginia’s defense to step up (and slow down the game) against an NC State offense that has shaky efficiency marks this season.
NC State vs. Virginia Prediction: Virginia -5
NC State vs. Virginia Odds
Virginia is a 5-point home favorite against NC State, entering at -205 on the moneyline. The over/under is 130.5 points.
It’s been an underwhelming season for Virginia, but Tony Bennett’s group has yet to lose a true home game. Can NC State break the Cavaliers’ defense and stay right there with UVA in a tough environment?
NC State vs. Virginia Key Matchups
Here are some key matchups that could decide the outcome of NC State vs. Virginia on Wednesday.
Isaac McKneely vs. NC State Three-Point Defense
Virginia ranks among the worst offensive teams in the nation in terms of scoring, which is partly due to their slow pace but also partly due to a lack of reliable scorers. The Cavaliers aren’t inefficient from three, however, and Isaac McKneely is the reason why.
The sophomore is shooting a remarkable 48.9% from three-point range, and Virginia has started to live and die by his shooting ability. The splits are remarkable. The Cavaliers are 12-1 when McKneely hits multiple threes and just 1-4 when he’s held to one or zero three-pointers.
NC State has been allowing opponents to shoot 34.7% from three this season – well below McKneely’s mark, but still a well below-average mark by the Wolfpack defense. If McKneely slows down, it may be the result of natural regression more than a testament to NC State’s defense. Either way, a quiet day from the sophomore would be great news for the Wolfpack.
Free Throw Battle
Virginia opponents attempt only 13.1 free throws per game, the 7th-best mark in the nation. Part of that, again, is the slow pace, but the Cavaliers generally play very smart defense and limit the extra opportunities for opposing offenses. NC State is on the other end of that spectrum, sending opponents to the line for more than 20 free throws per game (260th in the nation).
Can the Wolfpack find a way to even out that discrepancy? Pressure will be on the often-fouled Jayden Taylor and Casey Morsell to get into the paint and draw contact against a tough Cavaliers defense. NC State will have to be careful not to give Virginia too many additional chances, though UVA doesn’t shoot particularly well from the line – potentially giving the Wolfpack a major advantage if they can find a way to the line.
North Carolina Sports Betting Update
NC sports betting is expected to go live sometime ahead of the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament. While no formal launch date has been set, more news is expected to arise following the state’s internal controls deadline on Jan. 26. In the meantime, residents of the Tar Heel state can derive hope from the fact that Gov. Roy Cooper has promised a launch date by June 14, 2024. When online sports betting does become available in North Carolina, individuals will be able to take advantage of sportsbooks such as BetMGM North Carolina and BetRivers North Carolina, which offer new users $2,000 in first bet insurance($1,500 from BetMGM and $500 from BetRivers).
For updated North Carolina sports betting news, check out the “NC Sports Betting” tab on Lineups.
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