Texas Tech or NC State? How to pick 6 vs. 11 matchup in 2024 March Madness bracket

The 6-vs-11 matchups in March Madness are fun. They’re not quite an even matchup, but they also aren’t a cakewalk for the 6-seed. 

These matchups open the door for plenty of less popular upsets since fans are often focused on the 5-vs-12 games.

The No. 11 seed NC State rides its ACC championship into the Big Dance against the No. 6 seed Texas Tech on Thursday, March 21. Members of two of the toughest conferences — ACC and Big 12 — the Red Raiders and Wolfpack are familiar with high-stakes games.

The Red Raiders finished the season at 23-10 and tied Baylor for third in the Big 12 standings. They were 6-5 against ranked opponents this season. The Wolfpack, on the other hand, was 10th in the ACC and finished 22-14 overall. They won the ACC Tournament, downing ranked Duke and North Carolina in the process.

These squads aren’t new to dancing, as both teams have made the tournament at least three times since 2018.

With that in mind, and both teams riding momentum into the NCAA Tournament, it should be an exciting Round of 64 matchup. Here’s everything you need to know about the game, including odds, key players and a prediction.

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Texas Tech vs. NC State odds

Get a late cup of coffee if you’re feeling tired Thursday because Texas Tech takes on NC State at 9:40 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 21 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

It’s one of four games that’ll start after 9 p.m. ET, and this one will be featured on CBS.

Texas Tech opened as a -5.5 favorite, according to BetMGM.

Below are details of the game, including betting odds, time, TV and venue

  • Odds: Texas Tech -5.5
  • Date: Thursday, March 21
  • Time: 9:40 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Arena: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Texas Tech (23-10, 11-7 Big 12)

Texas Tech was nine points shy of winning a national championship in 2019, falling to Virginia 85-77 in overtime of the NCAA Final.

This is the Red Raiders’ third trip to the NCAA Tournament since that loss, but the team is far different than it was then.

Grant McCasland took over head coaching duties in March 2023 and will make his NCAA Tournament debut this week.

STREAM: Watch 2024 NCAA Tournament games live with Sling

Furthermore, the team isn’t the same defensive juggernaut that it was in 2019. That 2019 squad had the top ranked defense, according to KenPom. This year, the offense has done more of the heavy lifting, ranking 23rd, per KenPom.

The Red Raiders have a handful of offensive threats, which has gotten them to this point. Pop Isaacs is their top scorer, averaging 15.9 points per game.

Joe Toussaint (12.1 ppg), Darrion Williams (11.4 ppg), Chance McMillian (10.9 ppg) and Devin Cambridge (10.5 ppg) are all above 10 points per game with Warren Washington averaging 9.9 points per contest.

Six different options with Isaacs and Toussaint leading the backcourt could spell strong play in March for the Red Raiders.

  • NET ranking: 28
  • KenPom ranking: 24
  • Quad 1 record: 6-9
  • Quad 2 record: 4-1
  • Quad 3 record: 6-0
  • Quad 4 record: 7-0
  • Offensive efficiency ranking: 23
  • Defensive efficiency ranking: 45

Key players

Pop Isaacs, G, So. (6-2, 170): 15.9 ppg, 3.5 apg, 3.2 rpg, 1.0 spg

Joe Toussaint, G, fifth year (6-0, 190): 12.1 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.6 rpg, 1.4 spg

Darrion Williams, G, So. (6-6, 210): 11.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.2 spg

Chance McMillian, G, Sr. (6-3, 185): 10.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.2 apg

Devan Cambridge, F, fifth year (6-6, 215): 10.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.1 apg

Warren Washington, F, fifth year (7-0, 225): 9.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.5 bpg

NC State Wolfpack (22-14, 9-11 ACC)

The Wolfpack tore through the ACC Tournament, capturing its first conference tournament title since 1987.

Oh, and they won all five games in five days. NC State enters the Big Dance as one of the hottest teams in the country, having taken down North Carolina and Duke en route to the ACC championship.

The NCAA Tournament isn’t always about the best teams but rather who gets momentum at the right time. NC State fits that mold perfectly.

The Wolfpack weren’t a dominant team in the ACC — they actually finished in the bottom half of the conference. They didn’t beat a ranked opponent until the conference tourney, finishing 2-4 on the year against elite competition.

MORE: Buy tickets to 2024 March Madness games

NC State has four players that average double-figure points, which gives head coach Kevin Keatts options if the offense initially stutters against Texas Tech.

DJ Horne leads the pack with 16.9 points per game on 44.2 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from 3. The fifth-year player adds a level of experience at the guard position, which is almost always necessary for a successful March.

DJ Burns Jr., Jayden Taylor and Casey Morsell round out the top scorers, while Mohamed Diarra protects the paint on defense.

The Wolfpack lean on their offense, which averaged 76.4 points per game (98th out of 362), according to Sports Reference. Their defense mostly struggled as they allowed 72.7 points per game (210th out of 362).

  • NET ranking: 63
  • KenPom ranking: 58
  • Quad 1 record: 3-8
  • Quad 2 record: 6-5
  • Quad 3 record: 4-1
  • Quad 4 record: 9-0
  • Offensive efficiency ranking: 47
  • Defensive efficiency ranking: 89

Key players

DJ Horne, G, fifth year (6-1, 175): 16.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.4 spg

DJ Burns Jr., F, fifth year (6-9, 275): 12.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.8 apg

Jayden Taylor, G, Jr. (6-4, 195): 11.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.2 spg

Casey Morsell, G, fifth year (6-3, 200): 11.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.0 spg

Mohamed Diarra, F, Jr. (6-10, 215): 6.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.0 bpg

Texas Tech vs. NC State prediction

Veteran point guards are essential in March, as each possession’s importance is heightened.

Texas Tech and NC State both have reliable and experienced guards that can win them games down the stretch. Additionally, they both have multiple offensive options.

EXPERT PICKS: DeCourcy (UConn) | Bender (UConn) | Iyer (UConn) | Yanchulis (South Carolina women)

DJ Horne has proven he can lead the Wolfpack against the titans, as he dropped 29 points against rival North Carolina in the ACC championship game. 

Pop Isaacs and Joe Toussaint both struggle with efficiency, but Texas Tech is equipped with two other double-digit scoring guards in Darrion Williams and Chance McMillian, who are more efficient.

Neither team poses a major defensive threat or severe post presence, and the rebounding stats are nearly even at 35 per game, according to NCAA.com.

There’s definitely an argument for the Wolfpack to win this matchup considering their momentum, but Texas Tech has won more consistently all season.

NC State could cool down after a couple days of rest following its ACC title win, which could be enough for Texas Tech to capitalize.

History of 6 vs. 11 seeds in NCAA Tournament

It’s not an uncommon sight to see 11-seeds knock off a 6-seed — at least one of those upsets has occurred every year for the past 10 seasons. That said, it’s far less mentioned than the infamous 5-vs-12 matchups.

Nonetheless, this is an opportunity for a cinderella story to emerge in March.

HISTORY OF UPSETS BY SEED:
16 vs. 115 vs. 2 | 14 vs. 3 | 13 vs. 4 | 12 vs. 5

Texas Tech is favored in this game by -5.5, but NC State’s recent games have proven they can overcome the odds to win in big moments.

Below is list of each No. 11 seed that has defeated a No. 6 seed in the last 10 NCAA Tournaments.

Year Result
2023 Pittsburgh 59, Iowa State 41
2022 Michigan 75, Colorado State 63
2022 Notre Dame 78, Alabama 64
2022 Iowa State 59, LSU 54
2021 UCLA 73, BYU 62
2021 Syracuse 78, San Diego State 62
2019 Ohio State 62, Iowa State 59
2018 Loyola Chicago 64, Miami (Fla.) 62
2018 Syracuse 57, TCU 52
2017 Rhode Island 84, Creighton 72
2017 USC 66, SMU 65
2017 Xavier 76, Maryland 65
2016 Northern Iowa 75, Texas 72
2016 Gonzaga 68, Seton Hall 52
2016 Wichita State 65, Arizona 55
2015 Dayton 66, Providence 53
2015 UCLA 60, SMU 59
2014 Tennessee 86, UMass 57
2014 Dayton 60, Ohio State 59
2013 Minnesota 83, UCLA 63

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