Virginia (-7) at NC State, 7 p.m.
Pick: Virginia -7
In one of the more anticipated match-ups of the night, the Virginia Cavaliers (18-1) will head to Raleigh, N.C., to take on the NC State Wolfpack (16-4). The Cavaliers come into this contest following a dominant road performance at Notre Dame. On the other side, NC State comes in off a miraculous victory on a buzzer-beating three-point shot by sophomore guard Braxton Beverly. The Wolfpack had clawed back from an eight-point deficit in the final 20 seconds, thanks in part to four missed free throws by Clemson.
With NC State coming off a win that was hardly deserved and practically handed to them, I foresee a reality check in this one. The Cavaliers are led by sophomore guard DeAndre Hunter, a Philadelphia native, who averages just under 15 ppg. Look for him and his teammates to instill Coach Tony Bennett's strategy of slow pace, turnover-free basketball and suffocating defense vs. the Wolfpack. Virginia hasn’t been phased by playing on the road, although it’s lone loss did come to Duke at Cameron Indoor. They are 6-0 ATS this year on the road. Conversely the Wolfpack are 1-5 ATS in their last six games and 1-4 ATS in their last five home games.
Although many still have their doubts about Virginia due to the infamous 16-over-1 NCAA upset from last year, this team may be the best Bennett has had. Currently top-ranked on Kenpom.com, look for the Cavaliers to cover the spread and win by double digits.