- Louisville is a 2.5-point road favorite against NC State on Saturday
- NC State is 5-0 at home, 1-6 ATS overall
- Read below for analysis and a betting prediction
Louisville (5-2) is a 2.5-point road favorite at North Carolina State in the ACC opener for both Saturday at 2 pm ET on ESPN2. The Cardinals opened at -4 before quickly dropping. They are coming off a nine-point loss at Michigan State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
NC State (6-1) will have two days to recover from its marathon, 104-100 four-overtime home victory over Nebraska in the Big Ten/ACC challenge on Wednesday, when Wolfpack played the equivalent of an extra half.
Louisville vs NC State
|Louisville Cardinals||NA||-2.5 (-110)||Over 137.5 (-110)|
|NC State Wolfpack||NA||+2.5 (-110)||Under 137.5 (-110)|
Odds from DraftKings on Dec. 3
The Wolfpack’s victory over Nebraska was the first four-overtime game in the history of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
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Four North Carolina State players logged at least 44 minutes, and three others on coach Kevin Keatts’ relatively thin squad played at least 23 minutes in a game that had 14 ties and 13 lead changes. There has never been a five-overtime game in the ACC.
North Carolina State 6’7 sophomore guard Dereon Seabron carried the Wolfpack over the Huskers with 39 points and 18 rebounds in 57 minutes, all career highs. He made 11 of 22 field goals, mostly on moves to the basket against a sagging defense ostensibly designed to prevent that.
A slasher, Seabron made 11 of 22 field goals and 17 of 20 free throws attempts when fouled while blowing past the first line of defense to the basket, and his fingerprints were all over the overtime periods.
Seabron made a layup and three free throws in the fourth overtime, and his two free throws gave the Wolfpack a 102-97 lead with 28 seconds remaining, their largest lead since midway through the first half. They trailed by 14 points midway through the second half.
Seabron tied the game with free throws near the end of regulation and the first overtime, and he put NC State ahead on a driving layup with five seconds remaining in the second overtime before Nebraska tied it with a free throw.
Louisville’s Learning Curve
Cardinals’ coach Chris Mack was displeased by the lack of physicality his team showed in its 73-64 loss at Michigan State as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday. The Spartans can do that to a coach.
The Cardinals were out-rebounded by six and had only 17 points (on 14 field goal attempts) from the starting frontline of 6’11 center Malik Williams and 6’8 forward Jae’Lyn Withers as they struggled to find room in the paint.
Mack resorted to playing a small lineup most of the way in an attempt to create offense, which has been part of the plan this season — to create a faster pace and spread the floor more after missing the NCAA tournament a year ago.
JC transfer point guard El Ellis led the Cardinals with a career-high 22 points and guard Dre Davis had 15, but leading scorer Noah Locke did not score in 25 minutes, missing all seven of his field goal attempts. The Cardinals shot 41 percent from the field, 7 of 27 from distance.
El Ellis went 4-for-7 from three-point range. The rest of the team went 3-for-20. pic.twitter.com/9fDeWoV2LK
— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) December 2, 2021
The Cardinals trailed by 20 points with 7:43 remaining before cutting the deficit to eight in the final two minutes before committing two turnovers and missing a three in the final 90 seconds. Ellis had 16 points in that late run. It was Mack’s first game game after serving a six-game NCAA suspension.
Plugging a Hole
The Wolfpack so far have not seemed to missed elite rim protector 6’11 Manny Bates, who suffered a season-ending dislocated right shoulder in the season opener against Bucknell. They lead the ACC with 5.4 blockes shots per game.
Bates led the ACC in blocked shots in each of the last two seasons, and he set a school season record with a 64.1 field goal percentage a year ago. New starter 6’11 Ebenezer Dowuona is averaging 3.7 points and 4.9 rebounds and has 19 blocked shots, and the Wolfpack is averaging almost more two rebounds per game than their opponents.
— NC State Men's Bball (@PackMensBball) December 2, 2021
Seabron leads the team in rebounding at 10.9 points per game, and 6’7 Jericole Hellems is averaging 14.9 points and 4.3 rebounds and had a career-high 31 points against Louisiana Tech last Saturday.
By the Numbers
Louisville is No. 40 in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin and is 18th defensive efficiency. NC State is 67th in efficiency margin. The Cardinals are 3-4 ATS and failed to cover the closing four-point number for the public in the 73-64 loss to Michigan State. The Spartans opened as a 5.5-point favorite.
NC State is 5-0 straight up at home but only 1-6 ATS overall, covering only as a 3.5-point favorite in a 90-81 home victory over Louisiana Tech last Saturday. The Wolfpack was a 6.5-point favorite against Nebraska. Louisville is 4-2 straight up and 3-3 ATS against the Wolfpack since joining the ACC.
The Cardinals have won four of the last five in the series and have won and covered the last two, including a 77-57 victory in Raleigh in the 2019-20 season. The Cardinals have won their conference season opener in eight of last nine seasons.
The pick: Louisville -2.5 (-110)