NC State vs Kansas Basketball Prediction & Picks: Will the champs cruise in Battle 4 Atlantis opener?

By | November 23, 2022

It wasn’t smooth, but Kansas was able to successfully navigate Bill Self’s four-game suspension to open the season. Today, Self will make his return as the reigning national champions take on NC State in their Battle 4 Atlantis opener in the Bahamas.

Assistant coach Norm Roberts has over three decades of college basketball coaching experience, including a stint as the head man at St. John’s from 2004 to 2010, and he has been with Self during his tenure at all four of his head coaching stops.

So, the Jayhawks were certainly in good hands while Self was serving his suspension, and their 4-0 record with Roberts includes a win over Duke last week at the Champions Classic.

But Self’s return is certainly timely, with a tough Battle 4 Atlantis field to contend with and December games against Seton Hall, Missouri, and Indiana to come.

Will the Wolfpack be able to put a scare into the Jayhawks? They have also started 4-0, but this will be a major step up for them after opening with Austin Peay, Campbell, FIU, and Elon.

Will we see a lot of points to get things underway in Nassau? Keep reading for my NC State vs Kansas prediction and picks.

NC State Wolfpack vs Kansas Jayhawks Matchup Information and Betting Odds – 2022 Battle 4 Atlantis Quarterfinals

Matchup Information

  • Matchup: NC State Wolfpack (4-0) vs #3 Kansas Jayhawks (4-0)
  • Venue & Location: Imperial Arena (Nassau, Bahamas)
  • Date: Wednesday, November 23, 2022
  • Game Time: 12:00 pm ET
  • How to Watch NC State vs Kansas: ESPN

NC State vs Kansas Odds

Game odds are via BetRivers as of Wednesday, November 23, 2022, at 4:00 am ET. Odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites may also appear in this article.

Spread

  • NC State +8.5 (-110)
  • Kansas -8.5 (-110)

Over/Under

  • Over 151 (-110)
  • Under 151 (-110)

Moneyline

  • NC State +310
  • Kansas -400

Will Wilson Continue His Torrid Start Against the Wolfpack?

Few players around college basketball have made as big of an impression early on this season as Jalen Wilson has.

So far, Wilson has been every bit the player he needed to be and more. Ahead of the matchup with NC State, he is averaging 24.5 points per game, 9.3 rebounds per game, and 4.3 assists per game.

The junior has had at least 19 points and six rebounds in every game thus far, and he has had four or more assists in three of four games.

Against Duke, his perimeter shots weren’t falling as he went 0 for 7 from three. But he finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists to help the Jayhawks down the Blue Devils by five in Indianapolis.

And last time out against Southern Utah this past Friday, he had 33 points, six rebounds, and four assists to stave off a surprising upset bid from the Thunderbirds, who trailed by one in the final minute before KU wrapped up an 82-76 win.

There’s a long way to go yet, but if Wilson keeps this up, he will be heavily in contention for all of the National Player of the Year accolades.

Thus far, only Wilson and heralded freshman Gradey Dick (16.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG), who hit the late dagger against Southern Utah, are the only two Kansas players averaging 10+ PPG. But if NC State can’t keep them quiet, it will be a long afternoon for the Wolfpack.

Can NC State Keep Scoring to Keep Up with Kansas?

It remains to be seen if NC State can make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018, which was coach Kevin Keatts’ first season in Raleigh.

But if they can continue to perform on the offensive end, the outlook is promising.

Since averaging 81.2 PPG and 79.6 PPG in Keatts’ first two seasons, the Wolfpack have averaged 74.6 PPG, 73.2 PPG, and 73.0 PPG.

Last season, they were held to 70 or fewer points 14 times in 32 games on the way to finishing 11-21 overall and 4-16 in ACC play.

This season, they have scored at least 73 points in each game and had 99 against Austin Peay and 101 against FIU.

Terquavion Smith was only 5 of 19 from three against FIU and Elon, but he has had at least 15 points in each game, including a 26-point effort against Austin Peay to open the season.

More notably, after averaging just 2.1 assists per game last season, Smith had at least four assists in each game, and he has had at least two assists in each game, including six against FIU.

NC State is also getting significant contributions so far from Ole Miss transfer Jarkel Joiner (17.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.0 APG, 53.3 3PT) and La Salle transfer Jack Clark (12.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG). And in his last two games, guard Casey Morsell has gone for 26 points and six boards and 15 points and eight boards.

NC State vs Kansas Prediction and Picks

NC State vs Kansas Prediction: Kansas to win

NC State vs Kansas Pick: Kansas to cover (Best Value: -8.5 @ -110 at BetRivers & BetMGM) & NC State/Kansas over (Best Value: over 151 @ -110 at BetRivers)

A major key in this NC State vs Kansas prediction will be whether or not the Wolfpack’s outside shots are falling.

If they are, they could keep the game close throughout and potentially do what Southern Utah nearly did last Friday.

If they aren’t, it’s hard to see a serious scare happening in Nassau.

In their blowouts of Austin Peay (11 of 28, 39.3 percent) and FIU (15 of 33, 45.5 percent), those shots fell with regularity.

But in their 73-67 win over Campbell (4 of 16, 25 percent) and their 74-63 win over Elon (11 of 33, 33.3 percent), they didn’t so well.

The bad news there is that in the Jayhawks’ first four games, their opponents made just 26 of 102 attempts from three, which comes out to 25.5 percent.

I think this game could be close for a while, especially if the Wolfpack can make some shots.

But their close call against Southern Utah should serve as a good wakeup call for the Jayhawks not named Jalen Wilson or Gradey Dick, and I look for Kansas to cover, even if it takes some time to pull away.

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