The North Carolina State Wolfpack and Kansas Jayhawks meet in the opening game of the Battle 4 Atlantis at noon ET Wednesday at Imperial Arena in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
The Wolfpack (4-0) boast one of the country’s finest offenses to start the season. They will challenge Kansas (4-0), which is still sorting through its flaws and a plethora of injuries on the young season.
Kansas is favored by nine points with an over/under of 151.5 points. The Jayhawks are -390 on the moneyline, while the Wolfpack are +320.
Will the Wolfpack offense be slowed?
NC State ranks 14th in the country at scoring 88.3 points per game. The schedule has been soft, but the numbers are impressive as the Wolfpack have shown a willingness to run in transition and get quality shots up. They are converting 51% of field goal attempts, ranking 25th nationally, and 37.3% of 3-pointers, ranking 74th.
They also corral 36 rebounds per game, ranking 96th, while limiting teams to 26.8 boards per game, 30th defensively.
The one drawback is NC State’s defense has not been great. The Wolfpack allow 63.5 points per game, ranking 84th, and have even worse defensive efficiency ratings. They allow teams to shoot 42.4% from the field, 197th, and 33.8% on 3-pointers, 220th.
The Pack have great guard play with their top four scorers all guards: Terquavion Smith (19.0 ppg), Jarkel Joiner (17.0 ppg), Casey Morsell (14.8 ppg), and Jack Clark (12.0 ppg).
Jayhawks to dominate the paint?
If there is hesitancy at all to how good Kansas can be, it is the Jayhawks’ perimeter play. The offense has been solid, scoring 80.5 points per game to rank 73rd and converts 49.5% of field goal attempts to rank 45th nationally. But they only shoot 32.9% from the 3-point range, ranking 212th, and 56.3% from the free-throw line, the worst in the country.
Kansas doesn’t appear to have that one or two knockdown shooters fans have become accustomed to. However, that hasn’t hurt the Jayhawks’ perimeter defensive efforts.
They allow 65.8 points per game, ranking 124th. But the Jayhawks held teams to 37.1% from the field, 43rd nationally, and 25.5% from 3-point range, 32nd nationally.
Kansas grabs 39.5 rebounds per game to rank 23rd but allows 34.5 per game, ranking 304th.
A lengthy injury list may impact the game: MJ Rice (probable, kidney); Zach Clemence (questionable, nose); Wilder Evers (questionable, undisclosed); Charlie McCarthy (questionable, undisclosed).
The Jayhawks have been reliant on Jalen Wilson (24.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 4.3 apg) and Gradey Dick (16.8 ppg) this season.
NC State/Kansas Betting Prediction
There should be a lot of points in this game. NC State is 3-1 on over/unders, while Kansas is 2-2. The Wolfpack are 2-2 against the spread, while Kansas is 1-3. Public betting data shows 64% of bets are on the Jayhawks, and 51% are on the under.
We’ll take Kansas -9 and under 151.5 points.
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