NCAA Tournament Predictions: East Region: 8. NC State vs. 9. Temple

Point guard Lorenzo Brown (Star-News)

Point guard Lorenzo Brown (Star-News)

 8 NC State (24-10, 11-7 ACC)- The Wolfpack were a preseason Top 5 team (we ranked them No. 5), but they haven’t lived up to those expectations during the regular season. NC State has plenty of talent–leading scorer C.J. Leslie is a long, skilled forward with first-round NBA draft pick written all over him. Point guard Lorenzo Brown is an incredibly gifted playmaker and was one of the nation’s best at his position this season, averaging 12 points and 7.2 assists per game. Senior forward Richard Howell averaged a double-double for the season (12.7 ppg, 10.2 rpg). He is a capable scorer and rebounder who can bruise with the best of them in the ACC. Scott Wood is a tremendous three-point shooter, and T.J. Warren can stroke it as well.

So why hasn’t NC State lived up to its lofty preseason goals? Well for one, they played a tough schedule. The ‘Pack lost nonconference games to Oklahoma State and Michigan, two of the top 15 teams in the country. They also had a rough stretch in early February when they lost 4 out of five games. They’ve also been spotty on defense, giving up 70 points per game (254th in the nation). If the Wolfpack get past Temple, they’ll sure have a tough time slowing down Indiana.


254th Points Allowed Per Game (70.1)

5th Field Goal Percentage (.494)

13th Points Per Game (77.5)


Guard Khaliff Wyatt (Getty Images)

Guard Khaliff Wyatt (Getty Images)

9 Temple (23-9, 11-5 A-10)- The Owls are led by talented guard and Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Khaliff Wyatt, who averages 19.8 points and 4.1 assists per game. The offense runs through Wyatt, and it can fall into stagnancy if he’s having an off night. That could be why Temple has shown a tendency to lose head-scratching games (to Canisius, Duquesne and St. Bonaventure), yet pull out some tremendous resume-building wins (Syracuse, Saint Louis, Villanova).

The Owls have a ton of experience, as four of five starters are seniors. Scootie Randall (11.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Jake O’Brien and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson have all been through the NCAA Tournament wars, including 2011 when the Owls came within a few possessions of the Sweet 16. This group will be hungry to advance past the round of 64.

For opponents, it’s all about stopping Wyatt. Do that, and you’ve got a great chance to beat the Owls. Hollis-Jefferson and sophomore Anthony Lee are threats, but if NC State can sew up its porous defense and hold Wyatt down, they’ll have a good chance to win.


192nd Field Goal Percentage (.430)

40th Assists Per Game (14.9)


Team Stats Courtesy:





One Comment

  1. Pingback: Predictions for the NCAA Tournament Bracket

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *