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Women’s March Madness Best Bet: North Carolina State-Texas (March 31)

The field of 64 has narrowed down to just eight teams left in the tournament. Every single No. 2 seed in the bracket has fallen, with the Elite 8 set to feature four dramatic matchups between one seeds and three seeds. Today’s games include what should be a fun one between the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks and America’s team, the Oregon State Beavers, who are 3-0 against the spread in the NCAA Tournament. Later on, North Carolina State will try to follow up its upset of No. 2 Stanford by defeating the Texas Longhorns. There’s some value to be found betting the spread in that second game, so let’s dig into the best North Carolina State-Texas bet today.

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Women’s March Madness Best Bet: North Carolina State-Texas

The Longhorns have been absolutely smashing expectations of them since star point guard Rori Harmon went down for the season with a torn ACL at the end of December. Behind its elite defense and outstanding play of freshman Madison Booker, Texas has won 33 games this season, grabbing the Big 12 championship on the way to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Once again, Texas is going to exceed expectations today. Most sportsbooks currently have the Longhorns favored by -5 to -6 over North Carolina State, but my model is putting that number closer to -9 or -10. North Carolina State has impressed thus far in the tournament offensively, particularly the scoring of Saniya Rivers and Aziaha James, but the Horns’ perimeter defense is going to hold down the Wolfpack’s backcourt tandem. Per HerHoopStats, Texas limits opponents to 0.70 points per play, good for ninth best in the nation. This means that season-long, opponents have scored a basket on less than half of their possessions against Vic Schaeffer’s defense.

A large part of this elite Texas defense is its ability to force the other side to give up possessions, turning its opponents over at a rate of 24.3%, 12th best in the NCAA. This in particular will prove a new challenge for North Carolina State, whose last two opponents, Stanford and Tennessee, were both in the bottom 10 in turnover rate forced. With this in mind, I can easily see this lead ballooning, with Texas getting under North Carolina State’s skin and forcing it to cough up the ball, allowing the Horns to get easy looks on the other side of the floor in transition.

Best Women’s March Madness Bet Today: Texas -5.5 (1 Units)

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