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North Dakota State Bison vs. North Carolina Central Eagles

North Carolina Central Eagles (18-15) vs. North Dakota State Bison (18-15) 

NCAA BB: Wednesday March 20, 2019 3:40 PM PT (University of Dayton Arena)

Spread: North Dakota State -5  — Over/Under: 132.5

Free NCAA BB Pick North Carolina Central Eagles vs North Dakota State Bison

The North Carolina Central Eagles battle the North Dakota State Bison for the last spot in the East Region of March Madness. The game will be held in a neutral destination. Because of their underwhelming strength of schedule and lack of big-name wins, these teams, although winning their respective conference championships, tied for the 16th seed. Whoever wins will play the #1 overall seed the Duke Blue Devils. Albeit, the North Dakota State never squared up against the Eagles, they hold a 5-1 record against North Carolina foes. This marks the fourth tournament appearance for both teams.

The Eagles defeated the Norfolk State Spartans in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship, 50-47. In their last 10 games, the Eagles went 8-2. In the championship final, both Zacarry Douglas and Raasean Davis tailed double digit rebounds, 12 and 14 respectively. The Eagles out-rebounded the Spartans 41 (12 on offense) to their 29. Douglas scored a team-high 10 points, no turnovers and a steal. Douglas led the way on defense as the team limited their opponent to 34 FG%. Davis scored 8 points with his 14 rebounds (5 offensive rebounds) and a steal and two blocks. The Eagles played a scrappy game, and, after losing at half, outscored the Spartans 28-15 to close the game.

As the star of the team, Rassean Davis leads all Eagles in scoring per game (14.6) rebounds (8.9), blocks (1.2), and FG% (64.5). The redshirt senior made the first All-MEAC team. And he remains the only center to get any postseason honors this year in the MEAC. Winning it all can be attributed to his success during the postseason, as he scored 19 against on 75 FG% and 77.8 FT% against NCAT and a solid 10 points and 6 rebounds against Delaware State. Look for his leadership late in the game.

The Bison beat the Omaha Mavericks to take the Summit League crown. After losing three straight, the Bison went on a four game win streak to finish the season on top. Furthermore, in the championship game, Vinnie Shahid scored a game-high 22 points on 7-12 shooting. This marked his 7th +20 point game. Tyson Ward scored 15 with 7 rebounds. And off-the-bench Cameron Hunter made all of his shots, 3-3 from the field (all 3P) and 3-3 from the charity stripe. Moreover, as a team, the Bison converted 13-15 FTs and 47 FG%. However, the most impressive feat became limiting the turnovers to only 5.

Juniors Shahid and Ward co-led the team as they finished 3rd in the Summit League in the regular season. Shahid averaged 12.8 PPG, 3 RPG and 2.7 APG. He led the entire conference in FT% (.839), ranked 9th in the conference in True Shooting % (.592) and 6th in Offensive Win Shares (2.9). Ward averaged 12.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 2.3 APG. He ranked 10th in Box Plus/Minus (0.6) and 6th in Defensive Rebounds. They may be more dangerous next year, but they still led their team to the top after early season struggles.

Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends

North Carolina Central

North Carolina Central is 3-2 ATS in its last 5 games

The total has gone UNDER in the last 6 games

The total has gone OVER in 4 of North Carolina Central’s last 6 games

North Dakota State

North Dakota State is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games

The total has gone OVER in the last 4 games

North Dakota State is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games

Free NCAA BB Pick North Dakota State Bison vs North Carolina Central Eagles

Both teams did not finish their regular season on top. They fought to win their championship and get into the tournament. The Eagles play solid defense and use their size to often out-rebound their opponent. NDS uses their shifty guards to play fast and shoot well. It becomes a pick between strengths: the Eagles defense or the Bison offense. Although I might like the idea of two teams from the same place playing against each in the tournament (both Duke and NCC play in Durham), I don’t see them mobilizing enough against the quick Bison.

My Pick: North Dakota State (-5)

William Stevenson
William Stevenson
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