ROUNDBALL DAILY

NCAA Tournament Predictions: 6. San Diego State vs. 11. NC State

By: Kels Dayton

 San Diego State (26-7, 10-4 Mountain West)- Head coach Steve Fisher is at it again. Fisher did an outstanding job replacing four starters, including first-round draft pick Kawhi Leonard from last season’s 34-3 team that reached the Sweet 16. This year’s Aztecs are a dangerous squad, led by 6-5 sophomore guard Jamaal Franklin, who averages 17.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

Guard Chase Tapley (AP Photo/Craig Fritz)

Junior guard Chase Tapley (15.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg) is a big-time shot-maker, and will likely be the go-to-guy for the Aztecs down the stretch. Sophomore guard Xavier Thames is a capable scorer and passer, and likes to set Tapley and Franklin up for big buckets when the Aztecs are in need.

This is a talented team, and they won’t be outcoached with Steve Fisher on the sidelines. If the Aztecs are able to control the pace of the game and win the battle of the boards, they will win this game against N.C. State.

KEY STATS:

46th Rebounds per game (37.1)

35th Total Rebounds (1224)

28th RPI

Team stats courtesy www.statsheet.com.

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 11 North Carolina State (22-12, 9-7 ACC)- Head coach Mark Gottfried has led a resurgence in Raliegh, as N.C. State is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. The Wolfpack are an unselfish group, ranking 15th in the nation in assists per game and relying on five different players who score in double figures. 6-8 Sophomore forward C.J. Leslieis an NBA prospect, leading the team

Forward C.J. Leslie (AP Photo)

with 14.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Leslie is quick, skilled on the low block, and can finish around the rim.

Sophomore guard Lorenzo Brown (12.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 6.4 apg) does a little bit of everything for the Wolfpack, and 6-6 forward Scott Wood is a threat from downtown.

The Wolfpack are a very balanced team, and have the talent to make a deep run in this tournament. The two main issues concerning N.C. State are defense and decision-making down the stretch in games, neither of which was particularly outstanding during the regular season.

KEY STATS:

13th Assists per game (16.0)

51st Points per game (73.4)

55th Field Goal Percentage (.463)

PREDICTION: NC State 

Team stats courtesy www.espn.com.

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