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The extra factor that gives Auburn the edge over N.C. State

Two of Division I’s most efficient offenses hook up Wednesday (ESPN, 7 p.m.) as Auburn hits the road to play North Carolina State in a battle of 9-1 teams.

Because it has played a few easier games than Auburn has, N.C. State ranks third in the country in points per possession. The Wolfpack scored 75 points against Wisconsin, 80 against Vanderbilt and just defeated Penn State 89-78 in the game leading up to this showdown. Auburn ranks 12th in points per possession.

On defense, both are giving up fewer than 64 points per game. Where N.C. State matches up best with Auburn is the Wolfpack holds their opponents to 27.4 percent shooting from 3-point range, which ranks 19th. On the other side, 47.2 percent of Auburn’s shots come from 3-point range, which ranks 19th in that category.

So this game will be impacted by what happens behind the arc, but Auburn has shown that it can go cold from distance and still win. In its 75-71 overtime win against UAB, the team went just 4-for-22 on 3s. The game prior, Auburn scored 82 points on a Dayton team that has allowed more than 72 points to just one other opponent this season. Auburn shot 36.4 percent from the arc.

The Tigers taking a lot of 3s, and being able to adapt and find ways to win when those shots are not falling, makes them the side to bet on.

The play: Auburn +1


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