All previews: click here for the full 2015 NCAA tournament schedule
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Date: Friday, March 27
Time: 7:37 pm Eastern
Location: Syracuse, NY
There are five ACC teams in the Sweet Sixteen, and two of them are meeting on Friday.
Louisville North Carolina State
SportsRatings Power Ratings
Strength: #15 Strength: #27
Median play: #17 Median play: #23
Other Power Ratings
Sagarin(predictor):#12 Sagarin: #26
Pomeroy: #18 Pomeroy: #32
Offense: #74 Offense: #27
Defense: #5 Defense: #85
LRMC: #20* LRMC: #33*
BPI: #15 BPI: #33
Power Rating Derivatives
2nd half/season: #23 2nd half/season: #25
Last 6 games: #15 Last 6 games: #25
Injury correction: #24 Injury correction: #29
Consistency: #139 Consistency: #298
Louisville ranks better by every power rating, but without Chris Jones they're not quite as good as they were most of the season. However, in recent games they seem to have recovered from the dip they took without him. So we're going with the full-season numbers as more or less reliable, including the #5 defensive rating. North Carolina State has overachieved to reach the Sweet Sixteen, but beating Villanova can't be easily dismissed.
- Wins vs. tournament teams (6): Ohio St.+9, =Indiana+20, North Carolina+OT, Virginia+2, =UC Irvine+2, =Northern Iowa+13
- Wins vs. Sweet Sixteen (1): North Carolina+OT
- Losses to tournament teams (7): Kentucky-8, @North Carolina-1, Duke-11, @Virginia-5, North Carolina St.-9, Notre Dame-12, @North Carolina-10
- Other losses (1): @Syracuse-10
Key Info: Three-fourths of the way into the season Louisville was a very good, very consistent team, the kind that goes deep into the NCAA tournament. Then they played their worst game of the season in a loss to NC State, and then 3rd leading scorer Chris Jones was suspended. He returned briefly but missed the last 5 games, and since the disruption Louisville has turned erratic. They're still good enough to beat most teams even on a bad day, led by Terry Rozier's 17.1 ppg.
Louisville struggled to beat UC Irvine but Wayne Blackshear's 19 points helped get the job done. Rozier had 25 in the win over Northern Iowa.
- Wins vs. tournament teams (6): Boise St.+6, Duke+12, @Louisville+9, @North Carolina+12, =LSU+1, =Villanova+3
- Wins vs. Sweet Sixteen (3): Duke+12, @Louisville+9, @North Carolina+12
- Losses to tournament teams (9): @Purdue-5, Wofford-1, =West Virginia-14, Cincinnati-16, @Virginia-10, North Carolina-2, Notre Dame-OT, Virginia-4, =Duke-24
- Other losses (4): @Miami FL-5, Clemson-11, @Wake Forest-4, @Boston College-16
Key Info: At 14-11, things didn't look good. NC State was coming off what could have been a 6-game losing streak (they beat Georgia Tech in overtime) and they had Louisville and UNC coming up. But over that 6-game stretch there were some bright spots: they lost by just 5 at Miami, took Notre Dame into overtime, and fell to Virginia by just 4 points. The next three games were critical for NC State's NCAA bid: they upset Louisville on the road, and two games later did the same to North Carolina. In all they won 6 of their last 8, but the two losses were pretty bad (BC by 16, Duke by 24) so some questions remain.
A trio of guards leads the Wolfpack, with Trevor Lacey emerging as top scorer with 15.8 ppg. Against LSU another member of the trio, Anthony Barber, led with 17. Lacey had 17 himself in the Villanova win.
Game Analysis: These teams met once during the season and North Carolina State came out of it ahead, at Louisville, 74-65. The Wolfpack didn't do anything particularly impressive on offense, but they held Louisville to 33% shooting and outrebounded them 47-37. Chris Jones played in that game but was just 1-7 on 3s; a few days later he was suspended, then reinstated for the Miami game, then gone for good. Did he know that was coming, and did it affect his performance? Either way, the Cardinals lost at home with their full team intact.
Both teams played very well in the Round of 32; Louisville beat UNI by 13 and NC State topped Villanova. Look for a very close game if they both play just as well on Friday: by the Strength power rating's measure, NC State's win was 0.05 points better than Louisville's.
Louisville by 3
Power rating: spread
Louisville by 4.1
Game-comparisons: % Chance to win
NC State: 40.8%
As the 4-seed, Louisville is supposed to be here, but playing Villanova instead. Playing an 8-seed, naturally they are the favorite, right? Well, historically, this matchup has gone to the 8-seed 5 times out of 7 (total). So instead of a 59% chance of winning, it's only 29% by the few previous meetings of these seeds.
Bottom line: Chris Jones or not, Louisville is playing well. But they lost the last time when they had Jones. And they were playing at home. NC State has another surprise left in them, but is it a surprise if they beat a team they already beat?
Final prediction: North Carolina State 95, Louisville 94 4 OT
More previews: click here for the full 2015 NCAA tournament schedule.