Marquette vs. NC State prediction: How to pick, bet Sweet 16 odds for 2024 March Madness game

No. 2-seeded Marquette takes on hot 11-seed NC State in the Sweet 16 of the March Madness tournament on Friday (7:09 p.m. ET, CBS/Paramount+). We’ll get you geared up for this South-region showdown with odds, stats, trends, and our predictions.

Marquette has been a force all season, and stud guard Tyler Kolek’s return from injury has bumped the Golden Eagles back from good to great. Shake Smart’s squad trounced Western Kentucky in the first round and outlasted Colorado 81-77 in the round of 32, with Kolek and fellow guard Kameron Jones combining to score 85 points over the two victories.

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NC State, the only double-digit seed still standing in the bracket, has been one of the hottest teams in the nation. The Wolfpack got by UNC, Virginia, and Duke to win the ACC tournament, then continued its sizzling run past Texas Tech and Oakland in the first two rounds of the Big Dance. A combination of DJs — big man Burns and guard Horne — have been scorching for Kevin Keatts’ squad.

Can the Wolfpack continue its miracle run? Or will Marquette enjoy a Golden run to the Elite Eight for the first time in over a decade? Let’s dive into the betting odds, identify some key stats and trends, and make our picks and predictions.

Marquette vs. NC State odds

Early Sweet 16 odds have Marquette as a 6.5-point favorite entering Friday’s matchup, according to BetMGM

  • Odds: Marquette (-6.5), O/U 150.5
  • Date: Friday, March 29
  • Time: 7:09 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS/Paramount Plus (sign up for Paramount+)
  • Arena: American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX (buy tickets)

Marquette (27-9, 14-6 in ACC)

The Golden Eagles do a lot of things well, specifically moving the ball and shooting from beyond the three-point arc. Shaka Smart’s guys valiantly fought UConn in a losing effort in the Big East championship, even though they were without injured star Tyler Kolek. The do-it-all guard returned just in time for the March Madness tournament, and Marquette has looked like the best two-seed in the bracket.

Doubters have plenty to go by, as Smart’s squad went just 7-5 in away games this season. However, it’s worth mentioning that Marquette had the 10th-toughest strength of schedule in the nation, and the Golden Eagles did go 6-2 in neutral-site contests. And this squad is far more than just Kolek — Kam Jones and Oso Ighodaro can also do it all and keep constant pressure on opposing defenses. This might be NC State’s most difficult challenge yet.

Key players

Tyler Kolek, G, Sr. (6-3, 182): 15.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 4.8 rpg

Kameron Jones, G, Jr. (6-4, 185): 17.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.5 apg

Oso Ighodaro, F, Sr. (6-9, 205): 13.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.9 spg

MORE: Buy tickets for the Final Four as low as $210!

NC State (24-14, 9-11 in ACC)

After closing out the regular season on a miserable 2-7 run, the Wolfpack have caught fire and rattled off seven wins in a row. They blitzed the ACC and stunned North Carolina, Virginia, and Duke to win the tournament, now they’re the only true Cinderella remaining in the March Madness bracket. What a story!

NC State checks a lot of boxes. They have a talented pure scorer in DJ Horne, who shoots 40.6 percent from deep and drains 2.6 triples per game. They have DJ Burns, who has similar size and skill set as Zach Randolph. They’ve got twin towers Mohammed Diarra and Ben Middlebrooks, and plenty of complementary scoring with Jayden Taylor and Casey Morsell. Kevin Keatts has one of the more complete 11-seeds in recent memory.

Key players

DJ Horne, G, Sr. (6-1, 175): 16.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.1 apg

DJ Burns Jr., G, Sr. (6-9, 260): 12.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.7 apg

Mohammed Diarra, F, Sr. (6-10, 215): 6.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.1 bpg

Marquette vs. NC State prediction

It’s been a heck of a run for the Wolfpack, but we think the Golden Eagles swoop in this weekend and take the W. Marquette packs far too much scoring punch, moves the ball too well, and has far too good a coach in Shaka Smart to fall to an 11-seed.

Kolek should be the x-factor — he’s not just a scorer, he’s also a playmaker and an impact rebounder — and Ighodaro and the 6-11 Ben Gold should be able to neutralize NC State’s size in the front court. Go for the gold and pick the Golden Eagles to advance, but don’t be surprised if the feisty Wolfpack cover. We love the OVER here. Points, points, points!

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Marquette 80, NC State 75 — The Golden Eagles win (-300) and advance but the Wolfpack cover the spread (+6.5), with the score going OVER the total (151.5).

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