NORTH CAROLINA STATE WOLFPACK (14-2)
at MARYLAND TERRAPINS (13-3)
Comcast Center – College Park, MD
Tip-off: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Maryland -2, Total: 149
Coming off an upset of then-No. 1 and undefeated Duke, No. 14 North Carolina State will look to stay hot in the ACC as it travels to College Park for a tilt with Maryland.
The Wolfpack now own the nation’s most efficient offense, hitting 52.8% FG, tops in Division I. That results in an impressive 81.5 PPG (8th in nation) for this offense with two great post scorers. The Terrapins are also strong down low, however, taking in 43.1 RPG (5th in D-I) and will look to avenge their two consecutive losses to Florida State and Miami in this one.
Can Maryland end its two-game skid against a tough NC State squad? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts have a collective 28-21 ATS (57%) mark in the past seven days, boosting them to 53% ATS (228-205-8) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who sits at 58.4% ATS (52-37) for the season, while StatFox Dave is at 54% ATS (82-70-3) on the year. Dave is also 5-1-1 ATS (83%) since Nov. 24 when he mentions the word "hammer" in his analysis, including 3-1 ATS when he uses the term "Hammertime" for a favorite covering a large spread. StatFox Scott is 51% ATS for the season, after going 63% ATS (10-6) since Jan. 7, and StatFox Brian is 63% ATS (5-3) in the past four days.
Maryland is as deep as college teams get, featuring 10 players who play more than 10 MPG. Transfer swingman Dez Wells (12.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG) leads the club with 25.4 MPG, and he has thrived in his first year with the Terps. Not only does he make 55.5% FG, but he is coming off one of his best games of the season, an 18-point effort (7-of-11 FG) against Miami. In the past 11 games, he's shooting 61.3% from the floor (57-for-93). The true rising star on the team, though, is 7-foot-1 C Alex Len (13.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG) who is universally seen as an NBA lottery pick and has finally turned his potential into production this year. He’s swatting away 2.2 shots per game, while making 55.6% FG. In his three ACC games he’s averaging 15.7 PPG and 9.3 RPG. Another key guy will be PG Pe’Shon Howard who has been brutally ineffective as a scorer (3.6 PPG on 25.9% FG), but is a savvy passer with 5.2 APG and a 2.7 Ast/TO ratio. He is the main reason the Terrapins are 10th in D-I in assists (17.2 APG), but he hasn’t scored in two straight games, and is 0-for-10 from the floor (0-for-9 threes) against ACC foes this season.
Five double-digit scorers lead the way for this Wolfpack squad that relies heavily on a short rotation of mainly six players. Down low, F C.J. Leslie (16.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG) leads the way and is coming off a huge 25-point performance against Duke. He’s joined by bruiser Richard Howell (12.9 PPG, 10.4 RPG) and he also had a monster day against the Blue Devils, scoring 16 and grabbing 18 boards, his fourth straight game with more than 10 rebounds. Lorenzo Brown (13.0 PPG, 7.1 APG) is the primary distributor for NC State and is coming off two consecutive double-doubles in points and assists (16.5 PPG, 11.5 APG). Six-foot-8 freshman F T.J. Warren (12.3 PPG) has impressed this season with an incredible 67.2% FG (4th in the nation) while fellow first-year G Rodney Purvis (9.8 PPG) is coming into his own, scoring 13.0 PPG (58% FG) in ACC play. But the Terrapins will have to make sure to guard sharp-shooter Scott Wood (12.3 PPG), who is hitting 45.2% of his three-pointers, including 9-of-17 in ACC play.