Colleges

Staff picks: NC State at Duke

Posted February 13, 2012
Updated February 16, 2012

— North Carolina State has made its way near the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings and the next three games — against teams that all share the league lead — will determine if the Wolfpack deserves to stay there.

N.C. State (18-7, 7-3) begins a challenging gauntlet of three games in six days Thursday night at No. 5 Duke (21-4, 8-2).

The WRAL sports staff weighs in on Thursday's game offering their keys to the game and tell you who they think will win.

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Jeff Gravley

Jeff Gravley

Before I could complete the question, CJ Williams had the answer. “What is the first thing you guys….” “Defend the three,” the Wolfpack senior said. Williams and friends will take turns guarding Duke freshman Austin Rivers who already “has hit the biggest shot of his life,” according to CJ Leslie.

Duke is going to want to push the pace offensively and defensively to work on NC State’s lack of depth. The good thing for the Wolfpack is they haven’t played in a week and are as rested and fresh as you can be in the middle of February.

What will Cameron do to the Wolfpack? CJ Williams is the only Pack player who has ever played a game at Cameron. He and CJ Leslie smiled when asked about playing in that kind of atmosphere. It’s a shot of adrenaline for the opponents as well as the Blue Devils.

As we say about every NC State game, Richard Howell can’t get in foul trouble and I imagine more than a few passes with enter the post to Mason Plumlee. Can he convert? Does Miles Plumlee earn a start after his 22 rebound performance against Maryland?

Opportunity is the word of the week for NC State. With games against Duke and home games with Florida State and North Carolina a win in either of the three boosts their chances of making the NCAA tournament. I wouldn’t be surprised if that win came tonight at Duke but I’m picking the Devils at home. I don’t see the Devils losing three ACC games at home in less than a month.

Pick: Duke Logo 79-71


Ken Medlin

Ken Medlin

I’ve said all along that State matches up well with Duke, and I still believe that’s true. But the Blue Devils have the home court advantage, and at Cameron that means a great deal. If the Plumlee brothers rebound the way they did over the weekend, Duke will be in good shape. But, Richard Howell and CJ/Calvin Leslie have the potential to give Duke fits. I’m picking the Devils by 7, but this could be an interesting game.

Pick: Duke Logo 74-67
 

Jason Jennings

Jason Jennings

Perhaps the few years I lived in the “Show Me” state of Missouri had a profound effect on me because I certainly need to see something to believe it, and I have never seen NC State beat Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium with my own eyes.

Oh, it’s happened before. The last time the Pack won in Durham was in 1995. Of course, that was the season Mike Krzyzewski left early with his back problems so the Pete Gaudet-coached Duke team lost to Les Robinson’s Wolfpack in an untelevised matchup between the ACC’s two worst teams. This fails to meet my “see-it-to-believe-it” criteria because of the lack of TV coverage and the lack of Coach K.

The last time State won at Duke with Krzyzewski on the sideline was in 1988. Jim Valvano was coaching State, pre-probation. Chris Corchiani and Rodney Monroe were freshmen. Charles Shackelford and Vinny Del Negro were still on the team, for goodness sake. Because I was only in kindergarten and probably had a date in the Combs Elementary sandbox that afternoon, I somehow didn’t witness this game either.

For a more recent example of Duke’s dominance at home, the Devils held Scott Wood scoreless last year. As a team, Duke didn't need to score a single point in the second half and would have won anyway.

Mark Thomas can make the case for the Pack tonight, but I’m siding with history.

Pick: Duke Logo 86-73


Mandy Mitchell

Mandy Mitchell

The Blue Devils are playing their best basketball of the year. That coupled with the history of NCSU playing at Cameron makes it tough to pick with Wolfpack. I think it will be a close game though. NCSU will learn from the UNC loss and come out with more confidence.

Pick: Duke Logo

 

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Adam Gold

Adam Gold

Unlike NC State’s trip into the Smith Center, tonight’s home team doesn’t present the same match up disadvantages around the basket. Not that Mason and Miles Plumlee aren’t capable players – they are – but, Calvin Leslie, Richard Howell and Deshawn Painter were, well, let’s just say discouraged from scoring around the basket by the long arms of John Henson. Howell’s ability to carve out space and score down low will be key, as well as Calvin Leslie’s slashing and ability to grab offensive rebounds that lead to second chance points.

If NC State doesn’t win that battle however, it’s going to be a long night for the Wolfpack because there’s not enough versatility on the perimeter to really bother the Blue Devils. You can beat Duke off the dribble, but that’s not what NC State’s guards do best. Could Scott Wood catch fire and knock down 7 long-range shots? Yes. But that’s what it would take for NC State if the big boys don’t control the inside.

Before you think I’m discounting Duke, I’m not. I believe the Devils will win this game. But, because the Blue Devils don’t get consistent interior offensive production and they don’t force a lot of turnovers, Duke’s success is directly related to the playmaking of Austin Rivers, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly. Throw in the dangerous Andre Dawkins and the Blue Devils just have a little too much firepower – and a lot more depth – for NC State.  

Pick: Duke Logo 81-73


Joe Ovies

Joe Ovies

The Wolfpack's NCAA Tournament hopes don't completely hinge on the upcoming stretch of games, but they can go a long way towards controlling their fates if they can win at least one of the next 3 contests. It would provide a serious quality win, which is hard to come by in the ACC this year.

C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell provide an advantage for NC State. Duke's interior defense is still inconsistent and those players present problems due to their agility underneath. However, the Wolfpack must commit themselves defensively or the Blue Devils will hurt them from the perimeter.

I actually liked the Wolfpack to pull off the upset tonight, but rumors of an alternate black uniform have caused me to second guess. The last time NC State put on something other than red or white? A debacle against Maryland in 2000.

Pick: Duke Logo
 

Mike Maniscalco Mike Maniscalco

This game hinges on who hits their outside shots. State has the advantage in the paint on offense, but the Plumlees have started to take care of the defensive end of the floor and are getting enough offensive rebounds to be a factor to cancel that out.

State is 4-1 on the road in the ACC, but has yet to beat a ranked team this year. The one road loss was at another ACC ranked team, North Carolina.

Duke is starting to play like the Duke we've come to expect and Austin Rivers has answered the question of who will take the big shots. The Devils defensive pressure will cause the Pack problems.

Duke wins a close one.

Pick: Duke Logo 81-75

 

WRALSportsFan.com

Aaron Schoonmaker

Aaron Schoonmaker

NC State is starting the toughest three-game stretch of their schedule with an NCAA Tournament bid within reach. It is thought that to assure a bid, the Wolfpack need to win one of their next three (at Duke, vs. Florida St. and vs. UNC). Thursday night at Cameron, however, won’t be one of them.

Duke is launching more than 20 three-pointers per game on the season and in games that NC State has had difficulties, the three has been a big part of it – see Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt who each dropped nine. Three’s are also what have lifted Duke in key wins – see UNC.

Duke holds advantages on the year in points per game and field goal percentage while State is averaging more assists per game and rebounds per game. It may not be a blowout, but I don’t see a last minute decision either.

Pick: Duke Logo 77-68 

Erin Summers

Erin Summers

If the game was at the RBC Center I'd lean towards the Wolfpack for the surprise win over Duke, but considering it's over in Cameron the win will go to the Blue Devils tonight. 

While the win would mean more to NC State, they won't have enough in the end to grab it. Guard play will be key and the way Austin Rivers has been playing lately, the Wolfpack won't win that battle. Down low Duke's too big for the Pack, Richard Howell will probably get a few early fouls and the Plumlees will take over on the boards. 

Scott Wood needs to shoot well from the outside to keep NC State in the game and let's hope Calvin shows up on the court instead of CJ. It will most definitely be a battle and I'm sure Gottfried will provide some great new avatar material, but we all know Duke should win this one. Though that's what we all said about the Tar Heels a few weeks ago...

Pick: Duke Logo

 

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45 Comments

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  • cwood3 Feb 17, 11:05 a.m.

    Last night's game really hurt!

  • Ghost of Rameses Feb 16, 9:10 p.m.

    I see Duke pushing their way to the win, but I'm pulling for the cowpunchers tonight.

    — Posted by cussmikemeout

    I'm gonna hold my nose and pull for the Pack because of Buckets, Tommy, Marty, and a few others. I like the team, the obnoxious hatermojito swilling Red Rage fans not so much so like Shep, DebbieSac, Marco, etc. Plus if I pull for the Pack too hard then it will completely invalidate Sheps theory about UNC fans and I don't think he could handle the disappointment.

  • OriginalTarHeel Feb 16, 8:44 p.m.

    I will be pulling for the pack to win but I think dook wins by 20.

  • ugottabkiddinme Feb 16, 7:04 p.m.

    Hope they both lose...but either way it's a win - win...one of the two will lose tonight!! YES!

  • larrys080 Feb 16, 6:32 p.m.

    I hope Duke kicks their azz! I can tolerate Duke fans talking smack because they have earned the... View More

    — Posted by larrys080

    Framing this! lol

    — Posted by Tizu

    +1

  • Tizu Feb 16, 6:17 p.m.

    I hope Duke kicks their azz! I can tolerate Duke fans talking smack because they have earned the... View More

    — Posted by larrys080

    Framing this! lol

  • Go Lee County Feb 16, 6:12 p.m.

    maybe the floor will open up and both teams fall it the big ole hole!!!!

  • larrys080 Feb 16, 6:10 p.m.

    If State wins these boards will be lit up tomorrow and the Duke fans might get offended and not pull for you guys when football starts this year! Tread lightly State!

  • larrys080 Feb 16, 6:08 p.m.

    I hope Duke kicks their azz! I can tolerate Duke fans talking smack because they have earned the right.......State fans not so much!!

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Feb 16, 6:02 p.m.

    If we can keep Howell out of foul trouble, we can make a game of it. I am not confident we can do that. But GO PACK!!!

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
MIA 94
CHA 93
12:00pm Today
UWGB
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAC
 
Final
MIA 94
CHA 93
Final
MEM 107
LAC 91
Final
BOS 88
POR 94
Final
OKC 86
GSW 91
Final
LAL 94
DEN 101
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAC
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
ORL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
PHO
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
NYK
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
IND
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
CHI
 
Final
GMAS 60
COC 61
Final
FSU 69
UMASS 75
Final
SHSU 53
WOFF 64
Final
UNCG 67
YOUNG 76
Final
CMICH 75
ARKPB 43
 
Final
ILLCH 60
SILL 67
Final
MORE 46
AMER 51
Final
CORN 59
DREX 61
Final
CCST 60
COOK 65
Final
ARKLR 94
CSNO 88
Final
LEH 44
CLMB 54
 
Final
USB 89
MERMAR 54
 
Final
NMU 51
TEXAM 64
Final
STLU 56
TAMCC 62
 
Final
FAIR 80
SD 72
Final
EMICH 79
LONG 48
Final
ND 74
PROV 75
Final
RAD 88
CATAWBA 52
 
Final
DEN 80
COPST 54
 
Final
UAB 58
JST 50
 
Final
WICHS 105
NWM 57
Final
OKLA 90
NWST 68
Final
KSU 59
YALE 66
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
UCR 102
STKAT 49
 
Final
PSU 63
USC 61
Final
HC 101
NICHOLSCOL 70
 
Final
BC 53
DAY 65
Final
MON 75
TOWS 79
Final
HOF 93
WAGN 71
 
Final
CIN 54
EILL 49
Final
UGA 74
FATL 61
Final
BRAD 58
NCAT 50
 
Final
LATU 76
PBY 48
Final
RUTG 76
Terriers 73
 
Final
SAMF 64
UMKC 55
Final
NAVY 70
BING 68
Final
SHU 85
GWEBB 67
Final
UNT 58
IONA 78
Final
KENT 86
MNTST 28
Final
FORD 57
MLOWELL 64
 
Final
UCF 76
USCU 69
 
Final
SCAR 63
AKR 68
Final
WVU 78
UCONN 68
Final
CALST 70
DEL 52
 
Final
HOW 78
HOOD 51
 
Final
OSU 106
SHU 48
Final
VANDY 78
TENST 46
Final
NE 65
MAN 51
Final
COLST 75
MERC 62
Final
MISS 80
NARZ 74
Final
WASH 76
PAC 69
Final
LMU 82
SDCHR 60
 
Final
CHAR 58
MIAMI 77
Final
GAELS 72
UCI 69
Final
ILLST 64
ODU 45
Final
UCLA 77
LBSU 63
Final
SEAT 62
MONT 66
 
12:00pm Today
UWGB
ECU
 
1:30pm Today
WEBER
NEV
 
2:30pm Today
FRES
EVAN
 
2:30pm Today
KYST
PURD
 
4:00pm Today
LSU
CLEM
 
4:00pm Today
ALCOR
DILL
 
4:30pm Today
CHIST
UGST
 
4:30pm Today
DET
MDES
 
5:00pm Tonight
ARZ
MIZZ
 
5:30pm Tonight
INDST
PEAY
 
6:00pm Tonight
FLGC
MAR
 
6:00pm Tonight
LALAF
UWMIL
 
6:30pm Tonight
ODU
GWEBB
 
7:00pm Tonight
MD
ARST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOL
BUCK
 
7:00pm Tonight
JMU
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WINT
ETST
 
7:00pm Tonight
GSOUT
FIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
BST
GRAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
APP
HAMP
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
JVU
 
7:00pm Tonight
XAV
MURST
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
NICST
 
7:00pm Tonight
MSU
SCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
LOU
SAV
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENT
SELA
 
7:00pm Tonight
VCU
VILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
WCU
 
7:30pm Tonight
IND
EWASH
 
8:00pm Tonight
ILL
BRO
 
8:00pm Tonight
MSST
CLAYST
 
8:00pm Tonight
BEL
LIP
 
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
MVSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
IOWA
PEPP
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
PVU
 
8:00pm Tonight
KU
RIDE
 
8:00pm Tonight
BAY
STEPH
 
8:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
A
 
8:30pm Tonight
USF
HAW
 
8:30pm Tonight
OKST
ORST
 
9:00pm Tonight
WYO
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
YALE
 
9:00pm Tonight
CHAM
PITT
 
9:00pm Tonight
ILLST
SHU
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
STET
 
9:30pm Tonight
ISU
ALA
 
9:30pm Tonight
SDKST
CHADRON
 
9:30pm Tonight
NCOL
CCHR
 
9:30pm Tonight
OREG
MICH
 
10:00pm Tonight
SDU
WMICH
 
10:05pm Tonight
PORST
SIUE
 
11:00pm Tonight
AUB
TULSA
 
11:30pm Tonight
SDST
BYU
 
Final
WIN 2
STL 4
Final
NYR 5
MON 0
Final
ANA 2
ARI 1
Final
VAN 4
CHI 1
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
PIT
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
OTT
 
Final
HOU 13
CIN 22
Final
ATL 24
CLE 26
Final
NEP 34
DET 9
Final
MIN 21
GBP 24
Final
IND 23
JAC 3
Final
CHI 21
TAM 13
Final
PHI 43
TEN 24
Final
SEA 19
ARI 3
Final
SDC 27
STL 24
Final
DEN 39
MIA 36
Final
SFX 17
WAS 13
Final
NYG 28
DAL 31
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
NYJ
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
BAL