5 Bold Predictions For No. 8 NC State vs. No. 9 LSU

By Jerry Landry

5 Bold Predictions For No. 8 NC State vs. No. 9 LSU

LSU Tigers men's basketball NCAA Tournament 9 seed
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Tobacco road meets the Bayou in an 8-9 matchup for the right to likely play the Villanova Wildcats in round three. Although it still feels awkward calling the late-weekend slate “round three”, it won’t feel nearly as awkward for the team that will survive and advance. Here are five bold predictions that’ll ultimately favor the eventual victor.

5. The LSU Tigers Will Control The Glass

LSU Tigers rebounding Missouri Tigers SEC basketball NCAA Tournament
Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

5. The LSU Tigers Will Control The Glass

LSU Tigers rebounding Missouri Tigers SEC basketball NCAA Tournament
Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers are 12th in Division I in offensive rebounds and eighth in clearing the defensive backboard. Rebounds are the currency of the NCAA tournament, and LSU will be flush.

4. NC State Will Score 70+ Points

NC State Wolfpack basketball Anthony Barber
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

4. NC State Will Score 70+ Points

NC State Wolfpack basketball Anthony Barber
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolfpack already average 70.4 points per game, and LSU is 210th in average scoring defense. When these two worlds collide, it'll be explosive.

3. Jordan Mickey Will Get Five Blocks

LSU Tigers basketball Jordan Mickey Blocks Texas A & M
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jordan Mickey Will Get Five Blocks

LSU Tigers basketball Jordan Mickey Blocks Texas A & M
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It’ll be a block party in the paint, and NC State is invited. 6-foot-8 sophomore Jordan Mickey is an athletic forward who can close on a shooter, and that skill has cultivated a 3.6 blocks per game average. If Mickey can swat away four balls against the Kentucky Wildcats (as he did back in February), the sensational sophomore can certainly stone the Wolfpack at least five times.

2. It Will All Come Down To The Final Possession

NC State Wolfpack Trevor Lacey shooting NCAA Tournament
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

2. It Will All Come Down To The Final Possession

NC State Wolfpack Trevor Lacey shooting NCAA Tournament
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

LSU plays teams close; outside of two bad losses to the Tennessee Volunteers (78-63) and the Old Dominion Monarchs (70-61), the Tigers have averaged a 4.25-point margin of defeat. Likewise, the Wolfpack are averaging just a 8.4-point differential through losses if you take away the 24-point thrashing NC State absorbed against the Duke Blue Devils in the ACC tournament.

1. Regardless Of The Above, NC State Will Win

NC State Wolfpack NCAA Tournament 8 Seed
Evan Pike-USA TODAY Sports

1. Regardless Of The Above, NC State Will Win

NC State Wolfpack NCAA Tournament 8 Seed
Evan Pike-USA TODAY Sports

I know that LSU rebounds unlike few teams in the tourney, and I know that Jordan Mickey is a future NBA talent; but all things still considered, I see NC State advancing to the round of 32. The Wolfpack have stunning wins over Duke, the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Louisville Cardinals, and I expect another stellar performance from NC State on Thursday.

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