It’s a consolation bracket matchup of the Battle 4 Atlantis when a member of the ACC takes on the Atlantic 10 on the college hardwood down on an island paradise. The NC State Wolfpack are the “road” team as they take on the Dayton Flyers Thursday afternoon. NC State battled but fell 80-74 in their first-round matchup to #3 Kansas Wednesday afternoon though they did cover the line as an 8.5-point underdog. Dayton went to the wire but fell 43-42 to Wisconsin in their first-round matchup Wednesday afternoon, losing outright as a 2.5-point favorite. The Flyers won the only previous meeting between the teams, taking a 36-32 triumph on the road on December 18, 1959.
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NC State Wolfpack Look to Rebound From First Loss of SeasonNC State battled with #3 Kansas but couldn’t come up with the clutch plays down the stretch to come up with the victory. The Wolfpack fell to 4-1 on the season and hope to get back in the win column here. Against Kansas, NC State hung tough for most of the first half before getting outscored 6-0 over the final 90 seconds to trail 39-31 at intermission. The Wolfpack battled back and the game was even at 63 with 7:13 to play on a Jack Clark jumper. NC State gave up the next four points in the game to trail 67-63 and never got closer than two points down the stretch. Casey Morsell hit a three-pointer with two seconds left that allowed the Wolfpack to cover the line. NC State shot 38.7% from the field, including eight of 22 from three-point range, and drained 18 of 22 at the charity stripe. Morsell paced the Wolfpack with 21 points and eight boards in the loss.
The Wolfpack enter this game 15th in the nation in scoring offense with 85.4 points per game this year. NC State is 142nd in rebounding with 38.2 boards a night and dish out 15.6 assists a night. The Wolfpack is above average on the defensive end, ranking 84th in the nation by allowing 66.8 points per game this season. Devon Daniels leads the Wolfpack with 16.5 points per contest on the year. Terquavion Smith leads the Wolfpack as he averages 19 points plus five assists a game this season. Jarkel Joiner (17 points, four assists), Casey Morsell (16 points, 5.4 rebounds) and Jack Clark (10.6 points, six rebounds) are solid secondary scoring options. Dusan Mahorcic, D.J. Burns, LJ Thomas, Ernest Ross and Breon Pass are other important pieces in the NC State rotation. The Wolfpack is shooting 48.6% from the field as a team on the year. NC State connects on 9.8 three-pointers a night while shooting 36.8% from beyond the arc. The Wolfpack is an above-average team at the charity stripe as they cash in 75.9% of their attempts on the season.
Dayton Flyers Try to Reverse Recent StrugglesDayton lost for the second time in three games as their offense never got untracked in the loss to Wisconsin. The Flyers fell to 3-2 on the year and are trying to get back on track, though they have had major issues offensively in the early going. Against Wisconsin, Dayton scored just 14 first-half points and went scoreless for the final 5:02 to trail by nine at intermission. In the second half, the Flyers doubled their offensive output but never managed to wrest the lead from the Badgers. Dayton held Wisconsin to one point over the final 4:38 and no points over the final 3:17 yet still lost. On the final possession for the Flyers, they had a shot blocked and then couldn’t get a shot off following the ensuing inbounds, causing a shot clock violation. Dayton shot 30.2% from the field, including four of 27 from three-point range, and committed 17 turnovers in the loss. Kobe Elvis led the Flyers with 16 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
The Flyers come into this contest putting up 60.2 points per game, which is 315th in the nation, on the season. Dayton pulls down 41 rebounds per contest and hands out 12.6 assists per game on the year. The Flyers are a stellar 18th in scoring defense as they give up an average of 52.4 points per game. DaRon Holmes II leads the team with 12.4 points plus 5.6 rebounds a night this season. Mustapha Amzil (11.6 points, 5.2 boards) and Kobe Elvis (12.2 points, 5.2 boards, 2.8 assists) are good secondary scoring options. Koby Brea, Mike Sharavjamts, Toumani Camara, R.J. Blakney and Malachi Smith are important role players for coach Anthony Grant. Dayton shoots 39.5% from the field as a team on the year. The Flyers sink 6.4 three-pointers a game while shooting 26.2% from beyond the arc. Dayton is shooting a below-average 69.2% at the free throw line this season.
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Full-Game Side Bet
This one is a distinct clash of styles. NC State is a high-octane offense that enjoys running and gunning up and down the floor, as we saw in the game with Kansas. Meanwhile, Dayton is a team that will literally take the air out of the ball and make you play to their style. One need look no further than the game with Wisconsin as the teams combined for 85 points with each squad having 63 possessions. That’s not the type of game NC State excels in. The Flyers haven’t given up more than 62 points in a game so far this season. NC State is going to have their work cut out for them against the defense that Dayton plays. Look for the Flyers to scratch out a victory here to advance to the fifth-place game.
Full-Game Total Pick
NC State has gone over the number in four of their five games this season, largely in part due to their offensive success. The Wolfpack is 37th in the nation in effective field goal percentage (56.1%), 40th in two-point shooting (56.6%), 50th in turnover percentage (15.7%) and 51st in adjusted tempo (72.1 possessions per game) on the season according to KenPom. Dayton comes into this game having stayed under the number in four of their five games this season. The Flyers are 13th in defensive efficiency, 6th in effective field goal percentage defense (37.8%), 27th in three-point defense (25.6%) and 3rd in two-point defense (37.4%) this season. Dayton is a very methodical team as they are 331st in the nation in adjusted tempo with 65.2 possessions a night according to KenPom. Look for another rock fight here and the game winds up falling short of the total.