NIT 2021 Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Colorado State vs. N.C. State (March 25)
David Becker/Getty Images. Pictured: Isaiah Stevens of Colorado State.
- The Rams and Wolfpack meet in Thursday's NIT quarterfinals after Colorado State beat Buffalo and N.C. State beat Davidson in the first round. The Wolfpack have a clear advantage on the interior, but that may not be enough to advance.
- The Wolfpack struggled against premier competition all season, while the Rams pulled off big road upsets over San Diego State and Utah State, two NCAA Tournament teams.
- Mike Randle explains why the Rams offense and backcourt depth should move them to the semis.
Colorado State vs. N.C. State Odds
Click here for Saturday’s NIT semifinal preview between Colorado State and Memphis.
The NIT quarterfinals bring us a fantastic matchup between N.C. State and Colorado State.
N.C. State (14-10) finished ninth in the ACC standings, almost perfectly aligned with their preseason prediction of eighth. The Wolfpack struggled in early January with four consecutive conference losses to Clemson, Miami, Florida State and North Carolina.
Colorado State (19-6) was a nice surprise in the Mountain West, finishing third overall after a preseason prediction of fifth. The Rams entered the season ranked 308th in experience per KenPom, but disproved the popular theory that Niko Medved’s club was “one year away.”
Who should bettors back in this fantastic matchup of two evenly-matched teams with legit NIT title aspirations?
Colorado State Rams
Colorado State was one of my favorite mid-major programs all season.
Despite being an extremely young team, the Rams showed talent and resiliency all season. They finished the regular season at 17-5 including 14-4 in Mountain West play. The Rams finished third in the conference behind San Diego State and Utah State, but were the only Mountain West team with at least one win over Utah State, San Diego State and Boise State.
The Rams’ two most impressive wins this season were a 26-point comeback at San Diego State and an 84-76 win at Utah State.
Colorado State wins with offense, ranking 81st overall and first in Mountain West play in adjusted offensive efficiency per KenPom. The Rams’ shooting averages of 36% for 3-point, 55.2% for 2-point, and 79.2% on free throws all rank near the top for any mid-major program in the country.
The Rams have crested 81 more points in nine games this season.
Even on the other end of the floor, they boast an adjusted defensive efficiency of 95.3, which ranks near the top of competitive mid-major teams. This ranks ahead of Power 6 conference schools such as Missouri, Georgia Tech, and UCLA.
Their success comes from a small, but quick, guard-dominated lineup. Sophomore Isaiah Stevens (15 ppg, 41.8% 3-point) and junior Kendle Moore (10.5 ppg, 37.2% 3-point) are versatile scorers and superb from the free-throw line.
Most of their internal production comes from the 6-foot-5, 252-pound David Roddy, who usually is charged with guarding the other team’s big man. The burly sophomore contributes 16.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
N.C. State Wolfpack
N.C. State has reached the NIT quarterfinals despite losing leading-scorer Devon Daniels (16.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG) to an ACL tear in late January. The Wolfpack rallied to end the regular season, winning five consecutive games. They were then crushed by Syracuse 89-69 in the first round of the ACC tournament, before bouncing back with a 75-61 win over Davidson in the NIT quarterfinals.
Junior forward Jericole Hellems (12.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG) has helped to fill the void, with 11 or more points in 10 of the 12 games since Daniels’ injury. He is balanced up front by senior DJ Funderburk (12.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG) and sophomore Manny Bates (9.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG). At 6-foot-11, Bates is also one of the nation’s leaders in blocked shots at 2.7 per game.
The Wolfpacks’ backcourt is solid, with freshman Cam Hayes (7.9 ppg, 3.1 apg, 39.4% 3-point) and senior Braxton Beverly (7.1 PPG, 40% 3P) controlling tempo and spacing the floor on offense.
NC State will rely on the interior to overpower an undersized Colorado State frontline. Bates and Funderburk should provide a huge rebounding advantage, which will be needed to offset the Rams proficiency from 3P. The Wolfpack were torched from deep by Syracuse, allowing 14-of-29 shooting (48.3%) from beyond the arc. The Rams generate almost 35% of their points from deep, and if Colorado State gets hot, the Wolfpack’s interior advantage will be severely minimized.
The biggest mismatch is on the defensive end, where Colorado State holds metric advantages in almost every area. The Rams are superb at defending the arc, allowing opponents to shoot just 30% from deep (19th best).
Betting Analysis & Pick
Neither team holds an against the spread advantage. Colorado State is 12-10-1 ATS with N.C. State holding a similar 11-11-2 record. In the end, I trust Medved’s offense more than N.C. State’s, and love taking points with the Rams’ backcourt depth.
The Wolfpack earned just one Quadrant I win all season, finishing 1-7 against their toughest opponents. The Rams earned those two huge road wins at San Diego State and Utah State.
With their 3-point shooting ability and a great coach in Medved, this Colorado State is focused on an NIT title that will serve as the foundation for a fantastic 2021-2022 season. I’m taking the points with a slight underdog Rams team that I expect to win outright.
Pick: Colorado State +1.5 | Play down to Colorado State PK