NC State vs. Marquette Prediction, Odds and Key Players for NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Marquette Golden Eagles forward David Joplin (23) and Marquette Golden Eagles guard Tyler Kolek (11)
Marquette Golden Eagles forward David Joplin (23) and Marquette Golden Eagles guard Tyler Kolek (11) / Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA

The biggest surprise entrant into the 2024 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 is North Carolina State, who beat Texas Tech and Oakland en route to the Sweet 16.

The upstart No. 11 seed Wolfpack will take on the No. 2 seed in the South Region Marquette on Friday night. The Wolfpack, who have won seven games in a row in postseason play to keep its season alive, will face a stiff test in the Golden Eagles, who have point guard Tyler Kolek healthy and playing at a high level. 

Here’s how I view this Sweet 16 matchup from a betting perspective:

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NC State vs. Marquette Odds, Spread and Total

Marquette vs. NC State Betting Trends

  • NC State is 10-6-1 against the spread (ATS) this season as an underdog
  • Marquette is 21-14-1 ATS this season 
  • NC State is has gone OVER in 23 in 38 games this season
  • Marquette has gone UNDER in 21 of 36 games this season 

NC State vs. Marquette How to Watch

  • Date: Friday, March 29th
  • Game Time: 7:09 PM EST
  • Venue: American Airlines Center
  • How to Watch (TV): CBS
  • Alabama Record: 24-14
  • North Carolina Record: 27-9

NC State vs. Marquette Key Players to Watch

NC State 

DJ Burns: The Wolfpack big man continues to shoulder the offensive load for the surging ACC Tournament champions. Burns combined to score 40 points while grabbing 12 rebounds in the two wins on the first weekend. He’ll need to keep up with an up-tempo Marquette offense that can be had on the offensive glass. Can Burns keep this Wolfpack dream alive?


Tyler Kolek: After missing six straight games to close the regular season with an oblique injury, Kolek eased any concerns about his lingering injuries. Kolek sat only two minutes in the two games, combining to score 39 points, 11 rebounds, and 22 assists to advance to the second weekend. Kolek is the 2023 Big East Player of the Year, and he’s playing to that level despite some time off ahead of the NCAA Tournament. 

NC State vs. Marquette Prediction and Pick

This is where the surprising run from North Carolina State comes to an end. 

Marquette’s up-tempo attack is going to be too much for the short rotation of the Wolfpack who are a poor transition defense and won’t be able to slow down Marquette’s motion offense that generates some of the most efficient offense in the entire country. 

With Kolek and big man Oso Ighadoro (who is an excellent passer in his own right on the short roll), I believe that the Golden Eagles can target Burns in the pick-and-roll and get plenty of high-quality shots both at the rim (26th in field goal percentage at the rim) and the perimeter (59th in three-point percentage). 

It’s worth noting that NC State can handle Marquette’s ball pressure, the Wolfpack is 10th in turnover percentage, but the team likely doesn’t have the three-point prowess to keep up with the Golden Eagles. Marquette is 338th in opponent three-point rate, but NC State is only at the national average in three-point percentage. 

It’s worth noting that Marquette can be had on defense if the Wolfpack can enter the ball on the post. The team grades out just average in terms of post-defense, per Synergy, but the issue is that the team’s post-denial is fantastic. 

NC State may keep up for a bit, but Marquette has too many answers on offense. I don’t want to lay the big number here, but do think there will be points for the No. 2 seed, I’ll target the team total over for Shaka Smart’s bunch. 

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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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