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NC State vs. Texas Expert Pick and Prediction – March 31, 2024

NC State vs. Texas Expert Pick and Prediction – March 31, 2024 

NC STATE VS. TEXAS EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – March 31, 2024 — The last time N.C. State reached this level, the Wolfpack found themselves on the wrong end of a heartbreaker. With the chance to end Connecticut’s then-streak of more than a decade of Final Fours, State’s attempt came up just shy, losing in double overtime in front of a partisan crowd in Bridgeport.

Things will be different this time for Wes Moore’s team. For one, the Wolfpack aren’t the No. 1 seed this time; they come in as the No. 3. For another, the game will be played in neutral Portland, as opposed to a virtual home game for Connecticut. And for a third, they’re probably not going to be able to run the way they did against the Huskies two years ago.

That’s because this time, they’re not facing Geno Auriemma’s well-oiled machine. This time, they meet the anaconda that is the Texas defense. Vic Schaefer’s team did it again in the regional semifinal, as they forced Gonzaga to slow down and held the Bulldogs to just 47 points.

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If you don’t know what Texas does on the floor, it’s hard to appreciate the Longhorns’ defense. Texas doesn’t lead the nation in any one stat, but the Longhorns find the thing their opponents do best, take it away and then squeeze the life out of them. Gonzaga led the nation in 3-pointers; Texas held them to four makes on 22 attempts.

State’s more than willing to play a defensive game, which means this one could be first team to get to 40 wins. The Wolfpack got another strong game from their guards, but the spaces that were there against Stanford won’t be against Texas. To reach a Final Four, State has to be patient and hit shots when they come.

The Odds 






NC State

(30-6 SU) 






(33-4 SU)






When: Sunday, March 31 at 3 p.m. EST 

Where: Moda Center, Portland, Ore.


Public Bets: Unavailable 

Public Money: Unavailable

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of March 30th, 2024

NC State vs. Texas In-Season Trends 

Vic Schaefer is known as the Secretary of Defense for a reason, but State plays that side of the ball pretty well itself. The Wolfpack led the ACC in defensive field goal percentage, and only Duke gave up fewer points per game. Like Texas, State sticks to its principles and doesn’t send teams to the line very often. The Wolfpack gave opponents 10.4 foul shots per game, a full three attempts fewer than the next best ACC defense.

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Texas’ pace forces teams to try to figure it out as they go, and opponents usually struggle. The Longhorns only allowed 54 attempts per game, and only TCU and Kansas State gave up a higher percentage of makes than Texas. Predictably, the Longhorns finished with a top defense that really frustrates good shooting teams.

The Difference-Makers 

Madison Booker gets a lot of attention, but in this game, Shay Holle might mean more. Holle is the Longhorns’ best defender and will likely be assigned to Saniya Rivers. Even though Rivers isn’t the best at scoring, when she scores, the rest of the pieces seem to come together. Holle has to get a hold on Rivers and keep her from taking over the game.

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At the same time, Rivers played all 40 minutes in the Stanford game and didn’t exactly shoot the ball well in that game. She’s got to take better shots and find the few spots in the Texas defense where she might be able to attack and throw the Longhorns off.

The Pick 

This probably isn’t the right matchup for State. The Wolfpack have shown they can play with good teams, but they are not the kind of team that runs at an opponent and gets them buried by 20 points. To beat Texas, you have to take the issue right to the Longhorns and force them to keep up.

Once the Texas anaconda starts squeezing, it’s almost impossible for a team to overcome the start and get back into the game. The chalk is small enough here to go with the favorites here.

Dan’s Picks 

 Texas -5.5  

 Under 136.5 


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