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The 32-team field is set for the NIT and while the big dance will be garnering the national spot light, the secondary tournament in the country will also have some bettors looking for action.
4 Brackets with 8 teams appearing in each will be working their way to MSG for the Final 4, as the Hofstra Pride and N.C State Wolf Pack take up the 2 and 7 seeds in the upper bracket with the winner to face the victor from the Georgetown (3) / (6) Harvard matchup next.
Hofstra had a fantastic season in the Colonial Athletic Association, coming away with the regular season title before falling to Northeastern in the CAA Tournament finale to enter the NIT with a 27 – 7 overall record.
The Wolf Pack had their sights set on a possible At-Large bid for the big dance, as they and Clemson each found themselves on the bubble while neither made the big show out of the ACC. N.C State comes into the NIT with a 22 – 11 overall record and got slammed by Virginia in their last ACC Tournament game to arrive to the NIT.
Pride Out To Prove They Are A Tourney Worthy Squad
Hofstra and head coach Joe Mihalich certainly feel as if they had a team worthy of being in the NCAA Tournament, as their regular season was obviously outstanding before they headed to the CAA Tourney finals against Northeastern.
— Hofstra Basketball (@HofstraMBB) March 18, 2019
Many thought they would be the team coming out of the CAA towards the big dance, but there really wasn’t even any talk of them being snubbed or missing out simply because they lost the CAA Tourney Finals.
A 27-win campaign is pretty damn impressive no matter the competition, to an extent I guess, but Hofstra cruised all season and never lost back-to-back games while we all enjoyed watching Justin Wright-Foreman be an animal this year for the Pride.
Wright-Foreman’s performance in the CAA Tourney semifinals against Delaware showcased all of his skills, as he nailed down 42 points on a 15 – 30 shooting day converting 9 of his 12 free throws in the 78- 74 overtime win to land the Pride in the title game. He came away with 29 points in the title game, but obviously it wasn’t enough to land the Pride the trophy, while kicking them back to the NIT as well.
Eli Pemberton averaged 15 PPG over the regular season and took in exactly that in the CAA title game against Northeastern while adding 7 boards. Pemberton has taken in double-digits in the last 10 games, and at 6 – 5 he is also picking up intensity on the glass, as he averaged 5 boards a game for his junior campaign in Hempstead, LI.
Hofstra’s 83.6 PPG this year has them ranked 7th in the nation in scoring, while they are the 2nd best team in all the land from the free throw line with a ridiculous 79.9% from the charity stripe.
Wolf Pack Looking To Also Prove Something After Being Left Out
While the Pride feel the way they do about being left out of the big dance, the Wolf Pack might have had their sights set there too, although not many of us out here thought they were an NCAA Tournament-worthy squad, me included.
We will host Hofstra on Tuesday at James T. Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum.
Game time and ticket information will be released soon. pic.twitter.com/7tJ6d0Npue
— NC State Men's Bball (@PackMensBball) March 18, 2019
In fact, even the N.C State Athletic Director Debbie Yow came out and was totally shocked by the Wolf Pack’s absence from the big dance, but we all know differently.
I have a 3-word question for you Debbie?
You Like Cupcakes?
GOOD, because your precious Wolf Pack squad played a non-conference schedule FILLED with cupcakes.. and frosting, and sprinkles, and some lovely fondant work too! LOL
Since I can’t use the other phrase we all know and love, I’ll use it another way. Come On Woman!
Seriously, and I get that the metrics and the blah blah crap might have been enough to see an invite, but no. NIT and that’s all you get!
Wolf Pack Head Coach Kevin Keats got the Wolf Pack to the big dance last year with a 21 – 11 record, so the 22 wins might look okay on paper.
Torin Dorn leads the Wolf Pack as 1 of 3 players who averaged double-digits over the season, as he brought in 13.4 PPG and snatched 7.1 boards a contest. Dorn completely disappeared in the ACC Tournament, as he only scored 8 points against Clemson in their opening game, and was left with 7 points in the closing loss to Virginia.
Markell Johnson, who sits second on the team averaging 11.9 PPG, was the only Wolf Pack to find double-digits in the loss to Virginia, as he took in 13 points while no other starter had more than 7 points, including Dorn as mentioned.
The Wolf Pack offense averages 79.6 PPG while ha them ranked 34th in the country, although their 3-point shooting (35.3% – 126th) and their free throw shooting 71% – 165th) have little to be desired.
• Wolfpack are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss.
• Pride are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
• Pride are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 non-conference games.
• Pride are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 road games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Sure, you go ahead and give me double-digits against N/C State any day you like, and I will accept that challenge time and again. Much less, the Pride aren’t going to walk into Raleigh and flop like the line setters are assuming they will, so grab the points on the road dog.
Prediction: Hofstra +10.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I don’t think they could have set this total at 170 to get me off of it, because these two are going to go up and down this court all night long.
Grab the Over to easily come your way, despite ho high it might seem in the 160s.
Prediction: Over 161