On Friday, the NC State Wolfpack (23-10) will square off against the Creighton Bluejays (21-12) in the first round of March Madness. NC State was blitzed by Clemson 80-54 in the ACC Tournament last week. However, they possess one of the best backcourt duos in the country in Jarkel Joiner and Terquavion Smith. Meanwhile, Creighton was also crushed in their conference tourney, losing to Xavier 82-60. They are 6-2 in their last 10 games, beating UConn and Seton Hall.
NC State vs. Creighton Betting Odds
|NC State Wolfpack||+5||o148||+180|
Odds are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
NC State vs. Creighton Match Details
Fixture: NC State Wolfpack vs. Creighton Bluejays (Neutral)
Date and Time: Friday, March 17, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Ball Arena
ShotQuality Tale of the Tape
Below, we will highlight essential ShotQuality data for this matchup, including Adjusted Offensive and Defensive SQ, strengths, weaknesses, and frequency. SQppp is a player’s average ShotQuality points per possession.
Thus, SQppp = Total SQpoints/Total No. of Possessions.
The N82-60. C State Wolfpack owns a 1.13 AdjOFF SQ this season, good for 42nd in the nation. Creighton has the 20th-best AdjDEF SQ at 0.93. NC State does well in all key stats but shot selection, where they are in the 25th percentile. They are also outside the top 290 in the rim & three rate metric and free throw rate (FTR). Conversely, the Bluejays are in the 3rd percentile in defensive shot selection and second in defensive FTR and the rim & three rate metric.
The Wolfpack owns high-frequency numbers in isolation, midrange, off-the-dribble three-point, P&R, and transition shot types. However, they are outside the top 200 in all those shot types except the midrange, with a 0.77 SQ PPP (149th in the country), and post-up, with a 0.95 SQ PPP (4th in the nation). Conversely, the Bluejays’ defense will have a massive edge in transition and stopping the P&R, but the post-up will be a strength of the Wolfpack.
The Bluejays have a 1.14 AdjOFF SQ, the 32nd-best mark in the country. NC State has posted a 0.97 AdjDEF SQ this season, clocking in at 70th in the country. The Bluejays are in the top 70 in spacing and shot selection. However, the Wolfpack are in the 34th percentile or worse in those two metrics’ defensive counterparts.
Creighton is in the country’s top half in frequency regarding the following shot types: catch-and-shoot three-pointers, off-screen, P&R, post-up, and transition. NC State has been brutal in defensive transition, post-up, and off-screen but should be able to neutralize Creighton’s offensive ability in the P&R and shooting from the perimeter.
NC State vs. Creighton Prediction
I like the matchup here for the Bluejays. Analytically, Creighton should be able to force bad shots for NC State, although their backcourt is one of the best in the country. Of course, there is always the chance that the duo of Smith and Joiner can go bonkers regardless of the look, but I will bet that the Bluejays can pull away at some point and cover the spread.