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March 14, 2017

There is one pick today.

Take Wake Forest +2 spread against Kansas State for 3% of the bankroll.

A First 4 matchup tonight from Dayton Ohio features a classic offense vs defense battle as the Wake Forest Demon Deacons take on the Kansas State Wildcats.

The Demon Deacons enter this game ranked 16th in the nation in scoring, putting up 82.7 points per game, while also ranking 43rd in field goal percentage, shooting 47.2% from the floor. They have been extremely proficient from the outside, ranking 38th in 3-point shooting at 38.7% from long range. The area where they have really thrived however has been at the charity stripe as they rank 12th in the country in free-throw percentage, shooting a collective 77.3% from the line.

Thus far this season Wake Forest offense has performed well on neutral courts, averaging 88 points per game on 52.3% shooting from the field. The offense is led by a trio of stars that combine nearly 50 points per game. John Collins is the top-scorer on the team, pouring in nearly 19 points per game while adding 9.8 rebounds per night. The other two double-digit scorers are Bryant Crawford (16.1) and Keyshawn Woods (12.8), both of whom are lethal shooters from the outside. On the season, Crawford has made 53 treys, while Woods has added 49 made three-point field goals. In addition to Crawford and Woods, this team has numerous other guys who can light it up from outside. In over 23 minutes per game, both Austin Arians and Mitchell Wilbekin are shooting over 40% from downtown.

While Kansas State has been strong on the defensive side of the ball this season, holding teams to just an average of 66.9 points per game this season, they have struggled at defending the 3-ball, allowing teams to shoot 38.3% from long range this season. The Wildcats have also struggled against some of the higher scoring teams in the country, having taken on Oklahoma, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Kansas and West Virginia and their defense allowed an average of 81.4 points per game against those teams. Wake Forest has just as potent an offense as any of those aforementioned teams and should be able to navigate through the Kansas St defense in this contest.

While the old adage claims that 'defense wins championships', in this particular one-and-done style tournament, we don't believe that will be the case. These tournaments favor the more offensive minded teams and we believe Kansas State will have trouble keeping up on the scoreboard. On the year, the Wildcats have been wildly inconsistent on the offensive side of the ball this season just 69.8 points per game on 45.8% shooting from the field. With the winner moving on and the loser going home, we expect an all-out effort for both teams to secure their spot in the round of 64. The oddsmakers have listed this total fairly high which means they are expecting points to be scored in this contest, if that is indeed the case, a shootout will certainly favor the Demon Deacons. While this should be a closely contested matchup with either team capable of pulling off the victory, we believe the points have value as this game could be decided on the final possession.

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