First Four: NC Central vs ND State Preview and Prediction
NC Central vs ND State Preview
It may be a battle between two 16-seeds, but these games always deliver some of the best moments of March Madness. NC Central (18-15) is making their third consecutive NCAA Tournament and First Four appearance.
North Dakota State (18-15) is making its fourth Division I NCAA Tournament appearance in 11 years, and its third trip to the Big Dance in the past six seasons.
The winner of the First Four matchup will advance to play No. 1 overall seed Duke on Friday in Columbia, S.C.
Get to know NC Central
NC Central has been covered a few times this season by MFST, and we have come away impressed. Head coach LeVelle Moton plays a rotation of eight guys at least 12+ minutes a night, but there are three guys you will want to keep your eye on:
Raasean Davis: 14.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks per game
Jibri Blount: 10.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists per game
Zacarry Douglas: 8.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists per game
The Eagles average 71 points per game while giving up 66 per night. If they can find success of the defensive end and keep this game in the 60’s, I believe they will win.
Get to know ND State
North Dakota State was not expected to be in this position–that went to rival South Dakota State and all-world Mike Daum–but they were upset in the Summit League Tournament and NDSU took advantage. They got hot from the floor and were too much offensively for their conference foes to match. Just like NC Central, NDSU plays a deep rotation–11 guys averaged at least 11 minutes per night. Two guys that will need to be contained are:
Vinnie Shahid: 12.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists per game
Tyson Ward: 12.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists per game
The Bison average 73 points per game while giving up 72 per night. During their conference tournament, they did not score less than 73, and hit 86 against Oral Roberts. If the Bison can play this game in the 70’s or 80’s they will win.
LINE: -5.5 NDSU
Dan’s Bet: +5.5 NC Central
Score Prediction: NDSU 72 NC Central 68