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Kansas a Big Favorite Over NC State in Sweet 16 Matchup
A trip to the Elite Eight, likely against top-seeded North Carolina, is on the line Friday night in the Midwest Region in St. Louis as No. 2 seed Kansas faces No. 11 North Carolina State, with the Jayhawks as 8-point favorites on Bovada’s NCAA basketball betting odds.
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NC State (24-12) is one of the surprise teams in the Sweet 16, but the Wolfpack have been playing their best basketball. They nearly beat North Carolina in the ACC Tournament and rolled a good San Diego State team 79-65 in the NCAA Tournament opener. And then on Sunday, NC State upset No. 3 Georgetown 66-63 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005.
NC State has one of the country’s best players in C.J. Leslie. The sophomore could be a tough matchup for KU forward and Big 12 Player of the Year Thomas Robinson because of his athleticism and ability to score away from the basket. Leslie is averaging better than 18 points and shooting nearly 60 percent from the field over the past 10 games. And the Wolfpack have a 3-point gunner in Scott Wood, who is shooting 43 percent from long range in the past seven games.
Kansas (29-6) is rather fortunate to be here. The Jayhawks didn’t have much trouble in their NCAA opener against Detroit, but did in the Round of 32 against No. 10 Purdue. KU led for less than a minute in the game but Elijah Johnson hit the go-ahead shot with 23.3 seconds left. Purdue’s Robbie Hummel then missed a wide-open 3-pointer. Robinson fought through double-teams all night for 11 points (on just 2-for-12 shooting) and 13 rebounds. The 6-foot-9 forward averages 17.7 points and ranked second in the nation in rebounds with 11.8 per contest. KU’s 33.9 shooting percentage for the game was its lowest in a victory since 1997.
Kansas and NC State are meeting for the 12th time overall, with KU leading the series 10-1. NC State won the first meeting in 1958 while the Jayhawks have won the last 10 matchups against the Wolfpack, although they haven’t played in years.
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