The NCAA Tournament continues on Friday with the Sweet Sixteen. Here we will see the No.11 seed North Carolina State Wolfpack take on the No.2 seed Kansas Jayhawks. The game is scheduled for a 10:15 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on TBS. Currently the odds have Kansas favored by 8.5 points with the total sitting at 143 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: Kansas is making its 41st appearance in the Big Dance, including a national- best 23 straight including this season. The Jayhawks are an impressive 90-39 all-time in this event with three national titles (1952, 1988, 2008) and have navigated their way through the tourney field thus far as the second-seed. KU has advanced to the Sweet 16 in six of the nine seasons under Bill Self and reached the regional semifinals this year with wins over Detroit (65-50) and Purdue (63-60). Kansas is just 9-13 ATS vs .500 opponents this year and they are just 6-10 ATS as favorites of 5 to 14.5 this year. The Jayhawks played from behind for most of their game against Purdue last weekend, taking their first lead with just over three minutes to go in the game. The team couldn't find its range, shooting just .339 from the floor, its lowest shooting percentage in a victory this year. KU managed a mere .294 effort in the first half, its lowest shooting percentage in a half in NCAA Tournament action ever. Still they were able to get past Purdue, but they are really not playing well offensively as they have shot just 39.2% and scored 64 ppg in their two tourny games after shooting 48% and putting up 74.4 ppg for the year. Robinson has been a force to be reckoned with all season long. His double- double against the Boilermakers now ties him with Drew Gooden for the school's single season record at 25.The 6-10 junior is averaging team- highs of 17.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Taylor runs the point, and while his ability to get others involved in the offensive flow shouldn't be minimized (4.7 apg), it is his ability to fill up the basket (16.9 ppg) that makes him so dangerous. Johnson (10.0 ppg) is a perfect complement and is not shy about taking shots. He leads the team with 62 three-pointers on the season and has combined with Taylor for 119 of the team's 209 three-pointers to date. The Jayhawks have plenty off offensive firepower, but the success the team has had is also due to stingy defensive play. Kansas comes into this game allowing just 61.5 ppg, holding foes to a mere .381 shooting (sixth nationally). Mark Gottfried's first season in Raleigh has been highly successful. The team showed glimpses of its strong play during the regular season both in and out of the ACC, but has really come together of late. The 11th-seeded Wolfpack have rallied with upsets of both sixth-seeded San Diego State (79-65) and third-seeded Georgetown (66-63) and are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005 and just the second time since 1989. The Wolfpack are 34-21 in the NCAA Tournament all-time with a pair of national titles to their credit (1974, 1983). NC State is a sparkling 14-3 ATS away from home this year and they are 10-3 ATS as dogs of 12 or less this year. NC State has a deep offensive team, featuring five double-digit scorers. Leslie, an All-ACC Second-Team selection, leads the team with 14.6 ppg. Brown picked up All-ACC Third-Team honors, netting 12.8 ppg to go along with 6.4 apg. Wood adds 12.4 ppg and is the resident sharp-shooter on the team, converting just under 42 percent from behind the arc, while amassing 93 three-pointers thus far. Richard Howell is a perfect complement in the paint, averaging a near double- double with 11.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Rounding out the strong quintet is Williams at 10.6 ppg. Defensively they have been super of late as they have allowed just 62.7 ppg on 41.4% shooting in their last 7 games after allowing 67.8 ppg overall for the year. This marks the 12th meeting between these two teams on the hardwood. Kansas has dominated the series with wins in 10 of the previous 11 matchups.
Free Pick: I have a Play on NC State +8.5 and that writeup can be found at Pregame.com, but for here i feel the stronger play is the Under. The Wolfpack come in allowing just 62.6 ppg on 41.4% shooting in their last 6 games, while on the road this year they have allowed just 63.4 ppg on 38.5% shooting. Kansas had a great year offensively and they did enter the tourney scoring over 75 ppg and hitting over 48% of their shots, but they have been stymied in their two tourney games, putting up just 64 ppg on 39.2% shooting. On the flipside we have a NC State squad that has been solid offensively all year long and they have averaged 72 ppg in their last 7 games, but were able to put up just 66 in their last game vs a good Georgetown defense and tonight they will be taking on a very good Kansas defense. The Jayhawks have allowed 61.5 ppg on just 38.1 % shooting this year, while away from home they have been even better, allowing just 58.9 ppg on a mere 37.9% shooting. Kansas' last 5 games have averaged just 135.2 ppg, while their neutral games have put up just 133.4 ppg. For NC State their last 5 games have averaged 135 ppg, while their neutral games have put up 140.4 ppg. Mid 130's at best here.
Betting Strategies: March Madness 2012 - Recaps and TipsHost Marco D'Angelo and Pregame Pro Bryan Leonard discuss their recaps of the first "half" of the NCAA March Madness tournament and give their insight and tips on how to approach Sweet 16 and beyond.