Duke (25-7, 14-5) – NC State (21-12. 11-9) ACC Tourney Preview
Randy Dunson & Brian Horace
March 15, 2014
Coach Mark Gottfried’s No. 7 seeded NC State team is riding a high in the ACC Tourney thus far, having dispatched No. 10 Miami 67-58 and No. 2 Syracuse 66-63. The Wolfpack have been unlucky five times this season in games decided by five or fewer points. NC State has lost 100 percent of the time this season (0-5) after recording 23 or fewer field goals made and has also lost 75 percent of the time this season (2-6) after having a field goal percentage of 41.8 percent or worse.
Duke earned the No. 3 seed in the ACC Tournament. The Blue Devils have won 10 straight ACC Tournament games as the No. 3 seed. Duke enters the tournament ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press poll and No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Duke has been ranked in the top 10 in 14 of the 19 polls this season. Duke is 79-22 all-time when playing as the No. 7 team in the AP poll. The Blue Devils are 18-2 when playing in the state of North Carolina this season. Duke went 17-0 at home in Cameron Indoor Stadium with losses at North Carolina (66-74) and Wake Forest (72-82). The Blue Devils’ other in-state victory came at Greensboro Coliseum in the form of an 86-48 win over Elon on December 31, 2013.
Team Seasons Thus Far
NC State Wolfpack
No. 7 seed NC State added a signature win to its season when it defeated No. 2 seed Syracuse 66-63 in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal on Friday night. It marks the third time in as many seasons Gottfried has coached the Pack into the tournament semifinal. NC State is 6-2 in ACC tourney play under Gottfried. T.J. Warren, the ACC Player of the Year, led all scorers with 28 points, marking his 16th-straight game scoring 20 or more points. He also tied Rodney Monroe’s school record with his 28th game with 20 or more points. Jordan Vandenberg added 10 points in what Gottfried called one of the 7-1 center’s best performances. Offense was hard to come by at the beginning of the game, with both teams hovering near 25 percent from the floor. The teams returned to the hardwood and traded shots early until the Wolfpack went on a 5-0 run to extend the lead to 42-37. This would be the first of several runs that would color the latter part of the second half. Tied 37-37, Ralston Turner drained a 3-pointer and Warren added a basket that prompted Syracuse to call a timeout. The break did nothing to quiet NC State as Vandenberg responded with a dunk to give the Pack a 44-37 lead. The Wolfpack led 52-44 when Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis began chipping away at the deficit. The Orange went on a 12-2 run to claim a 59-57 lead with 3:41 to play. Like they did on Thursday night vs. Miami, NC State closed strong, finishing the game on a 9-4 run. Turner drained arguably the biggest 3-pointer of his career with 2:28 to go, giving the Wolfpack a 62-59 advantage, and the lead for good. Syracuse closed to within one with 26 seconds left, but missed six straight field goal attempts, including four 3-point attempts and NC State held on for the victory as time expired.
Duke Blue Devils
Rod Hall stormed down the court, determined to send No. 7 Duke to another one-and-done at the ACC tournament. And then Tyler Thornton reached out and came up with the only defensive stop the Blue Devils needed. Of course, Clemson called foul, both literally and figuratively. Duke held on to beat Clemson 63-62 Friday night in the ACC quarterfinals after Rodney Hood hit two free throws with 3.8 seconds left and Thornton came up with his timely stop, the only one the Blue Devils managed in the last 5 minutes. ACC rookie of the year Jabari Parker scored 18 points, and Hood had 17 for the third-seeded Blue Devils (25-7). They blew a 13-point lead with 12 minutes left before regrouping just in time to avoid joining No. 15 North Carolina and No. 11 Syracuse as ACC quarterfinal losers. Rasheed Sulaimon added 14 points and Amile Jefferson had 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who narrowly avoided their third straight postseason loss at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Duke leads the all-time series 141-98. At Cameron Indoor Stadium Duke leads 49-23, and under Coach K Duke leads 50-21. When these two teams last met, Duke avenged an early-season loss to NC State in the final meeting of the 2012-13 season on February 7 at Cameron. Duke’s 140 wins against NC State are the second most against any team in program history. The only school Duke has defeated more than NC State is Wake Forest, against which Duke holds a 162-77 record. Saturday’s meeting will be the 239th between Duke and NC State, tied for the most games played in Duke history. Duke has also played Wake Forest 239 times.
In terms of a few select statistical parameters, Duke pretty much predominates in each, which gives the Blue Devils a significant edge head-to-head.
Four Factors to Winning
When we look at the four factors to winning, Duke has the edge in all four: shooting (eFG% of 54.1 vs. 49.7), ball handling (TO% of 14.7 vs. 16.0), and shooting free throws (FT Rate of 39.9% vs. 36.7%), and offensive rebounding (OR% of 34.9 vs. 34.5).
[Graph at http://statsheet.com/mcb/games/2014/03/15/2014-03-15_north-carolina-state_vs_duke
Key Points to Consider
NC State is playing at an extremely high level. We’ve been saying all year that this is a young team and nothing gets a young team going like getting used to seeing “W’s” currently State is on a 4 game winning streak and that means it’s danger time for Duke. Especially with the way they closed out, or rather did not close out Clemson in the last game. The recipe to beat Duke is as simple as the recipe to fix Duke. Don’t get us wrong, just because a recipe is simple doesn’t mean the execution is simple. Toughness. Duke needs to be tough and smart, it needs to mimic the rebounding effort it gave against Clemson but it also needs to execute. Too many droughts on offense and too much letting anyone get any shot they want. Have to play better all over the place; it is as simple as that.
We give Duke the edge but expect another nail biter. Which of these teams are going to be able to perform on tired legs? Which team’s bench will come through? We know what the stars can do; we expect them to cancel each other out. Who will perform better in the half-court? We say Duke by the slimmest of margins…..per usual.