NC State Basketball vs. Penn State Nittany Lions preview, live stream, odds

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

NC State Basketball looks to rebound after an up-and-down trip to the Bahamas. They play Penn State in Raleigh for this year’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

You wouldn’t be an NC State fan if you weren’t used to the all the highs and lows a Wolfpack team brings. Fans were treated to those highs and crushing lows by NC State Basketball in the span of just one Thanksgiving tournament. Now, the Wolfpack and their faithful hope to get back on track against Penn State.

NC State (5-2) upset then No. 2 Arizona in their opening game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament last week. New head coach Kevin Keatts got a signature win five games into his NC State career. The Wolfpack then proceeded to lose close to Northern Iowa and Tennessee to finish the tournament in fourth place. To make matters worse the Arizona win has been completely devalued because the Wildcats lost their next two games, finished dead last in the tournament, and tumbled out of the AP Top 25.

The Wolfpack are led by Baylor-transfer Allerik Freeman with 15.9 points per game and an impressive 6.1 rebounds per game as a 6-foot-3 guard. Sophomore Markell Johnson is averaging 6.9 assists with 2.9 turnovers and 2.3 steals per game.

Penn State’s (6-1) two games against Power 5 opponents had drastically different results.  They demolished their in-state rival, Pittsburgh, 85-54. The Nittany Lions fell 98-87 to No. 9 Texas A&M in the next game despite a 31-point performance by Tony Carr. The sophomore guard is averaging 20 points per game. The Aggies shot 50 percent from beyond the three-point line and 61.1 percent from the field.

The ACC basically wrapped up the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Day 2. The ACC leads 6-1 and needs just one more win to guarantee at least a tie.

Here’s how you can watch Wednesday’s NC State Wolfpack vs. Penn State Nittany Lions game:

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 29
Time: 7:15 p.m. ET
Location: Raleigh, NC
Venue: PNC Arena
Live Stream: WatchESPN

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Penn State is a two-point favorite. Their defense is rated as the 16th best in the country by Ken Pomeroy’s models, and the books trust him. The question is if their numbers are inflated by a bunch of bad teams. That would be my bet. This is a big game for Keatts. The classic letdown after the Arizona win is somewhat excusable, a three-game losing streak isn’t. You have to stop the bleeding here. It’s also not a bad spot to bet a home underdog in prime time.

Prediction: NC State 80, Penn State 77