Joe Ovies

Talking Points: Pack unable to keep up with Duke

Posted March 15

1. Duke and NC State put together a contest in stark contrast to Virginia's slugfest over Pittsburgh, but it was a pace the Wolfpack were unable to maintain in the second half.

NC State went into halftime hitting 16-of-24 from the field, but trailed by one point as the Blue Devils went 5-of-12 from 3-point range. The Wolfpack cooled off considerably out of the break and allowed Duke to widen the lead when they out-scored 19-10 during a crucial stretch. Eventually the Blue Devils started playing stall ball, but NC State couldn't get their offense going again.

Jabari Parker will get a ton of attention for his performance, but Duke is really able to flex on their opponents when their other offensive threats get going. Rasheed Sulaimon pitched in 16 points. Quinn Cook and Rodney Hood each contributed 14, while combining for five from beyond the arc. 

Duke shot 68.4% in the second half. Just too much firepower for NC State, who went for 66.7% in the first 20 minutes to converting only 35.5% of their shots to close out the game.

2. So yeah, about Parker. He celebrated his 19th birthday by dropping 20 points and giving the highlight makers a few plays to throw into the rotation.

I hereby declare Parker's nickname be "Beagle" from now on.

3. The ACC Tournament will experience a first for Sunday's championship game -- Duke and Virginia will face off for the title. The Blue Devils beat the Cavaliers at Cameron Indoor Stadium in their only meeting of the regular season. Duke is 15-3 against Virginia in tournament play.

4. Did T.J. Warren run out of steam playing his third game in as many days or did Duke do a good job limiting the reigning ACC Player of the Year? Let's go with a mixture of both.

Warren had a great first half with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He was in typical form, finding ways to get to the rim through traffic. However, Warren's second half got off to a quiet start.

Duke ran Hood, Sulaimon, Tyler Thornton and Matt Jones on Warren early in the game. Hood eventually settled into Warren's main defender, despite having three fouls throughout the second half.

The Blue Devils essentially forced Warren to give the ball up to his teammates, who didn't add the same level of punch from the previous wins over Miami and Syracuse. Cat Barber was effective early, but took only one shot in the second half. Ralston Turner's offensive production stalled.

At one point after Warren dove for a loose ball, he leaned against the scorer’s table with an exasperated look on his face and pounded the floor out frustration. That moment summed up the final 10 minutes for NC State.

5. NC State's possible inclusion in the NCAA Tournament will be hotly debated between now and when the selection committee unveils the bracket Sunday night. The Wolfpack's win over the Orange at least vaulted them into the discussion.

"Honestly, if you win at Pitt, beat Syracuse, beat Duke, hell, you're about a Final Four team by then," NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. "It's hard to ask anybody, but we showed we certainly belong in the field of 68."
Gottfried pointed to NC State's tough non-conference schedule. It's what the selection committee wants from these bubble teams. Of course, it's one thing to schedule those teams and another to actually notch victories. The Wolfpack might not have enough to justify an invitation to the dance.
Right now NC State is hovering in the dreaded "last four out" category of noted bracket gurus. "Dance Card," a website that does a good job predicting at-large bids by comparing the profiles of similar teams in past years, gave NC State a probability of 72% based on games played through Friday.

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  • 4tarheels Mar 16, 8:38 a.m.

    If they had beat Duke then State would have gotten in. Unfortunately, Warren will have to play out his college career in the NIT.

  • Gunnstigator Mar 16, 8:13 a.m.

    State played one more game than Duke, and unfortunately, that caught up with them in the second half. State came so close to getting a bid to Dance, and they are better than some teams that will get in. Sure, they'll do well in the NIT and possibly win, but it's a bitter pill not to make the Tourney after playing so well down the stretch.

  • trolllordv00 Mar 16, 1:18 a.m.

    If state does not get in there will be 10-15 teams who would be run out of the gym by state who do. Unfortunately this happens to deserving teams every year. How many years in a row did Va Tech probably deserve to get in but did not? I still think the ACC deserves six teams, state being one.

  • bull2513 Mar 15, 11:29 p.m.

    As opposed to Carolina's earlier exit?

  • ACC22 Mar 15, 9:56 p.m.

    you didn't beat duke you don't deserve a bid and your not getting one. Win and you don't have this problem

  • RBBretired Mar 15, 9:56 p.m.

    ...using that logic, probably can't beat Bellmont either.

  • sportznutv2.11 Mar 15, 9:53 p.m.

    If you ever wonder where the pack lunatic fringe gets it fuel from ... You don't have to look far

  • dave437 Mar 15, 9:07 p.m.

    "you win at Pitt, beat Syracuse, beat Duke, hell, you're about a Final Four team by then"....

    but can't beat NC Central?

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