Duke (13-4, 2-2) – NC State (11-6, 1-3) Preview
Randy Dunson (@RandyDunson) & Brian Horace
January 18, 2014
Coach Mark Gottfried’s NC State team completes a two-game ACC road trip at Duke on Saturday, January 18. Until falling to Wake Forest, NC State had won each of its last three road games, including its ACC road opener last week at Notre Dame. The Wolfpack have been unlucky three 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 is ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press poll and No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. This is the first week in program history that Duke has played as the No. 23 team in the country. Duke has won 26 consecutive games in Cameron Indoor Stadium to tie for the longest active home-court winning streak in the nation. In addition, they are tied for the eighth-longest streak in ACC history .Duke is averaging 86.7 points per game at home this season while holding opponents to 67.6 points per game. Duke has held seven of its past nine opponents under 70 points, including six straight in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke is 10-0 this season when holding the opposition under 70 points. Saturday’s game will be Duke’s 236th consecutive as a ranked team. Duke is 195-40 (.830) during that run.
Team Seasons Thus Far
NC State Wolfpack
NC State’s 3-0 road record came to an end on Wednesday with a last second loss to the Wake Forest Deamon Deacons (70-69). T.J. Warren had a game-high 22 points, which accounted for 32% of the team’s points, and four rebounds prior to fouling out. Jordan Vandenberg scored 10 points and added seven rebounds and Ralston Turner scored 11 points off the bench and recorded a team season high in three pointers attempted with nine (four straight double-digit point games). This is the third loss of the season where the Wolfpack opponent came back to win after being down at halftime.
The Wolfpack are led by sophomore forward T.J. Warren (22.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG), the ACC’s leading scorer and ranks 9th in the nation in scoring, who has led the team in scoring in 15 out of 17 games this season. He continues to show he is one of the more efficient scorers in all of college basketball, ranking fourth in the ACC with a .505 field goal percentage (minimum 5 FG made per game). The sophomore is the only player in the ACC with multiple 30-point performances, hitting the mark against Florida Gulf Coast (30), Eastern Kentucky (30), and ECU (32). Warren has scored 21 points or more in 12 of NC State’s 16 games this season and has reached double figures in 18 of his last 20 games.
Freshman forward Lennard Freeman (4.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG) & senior center Jordan Vandenberg (6.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG) round out the frontcourt. Vandenberg has led the team in rebounding in three out of 17 games this season. Freshman guard Anthony (‘Cat’) Barber (11.5 PPG, 4.2 APG) & junior guard Desmond Lee (10.2 PPG, 1.6 APG) comprise the backcourt.
NC State has recorded fewer assists than their opponents for the past four games. NC State is second in the nation in two-point distribution, meaning just one team in America scores a higher percentage of its points on made 2-point field goals than NC State. The Wolfpack scores 63.3 percent of its points on field goals made inside the arc. Further, NC State is fourth in the ACC with a .517 shooting percentage on its attempts from inside the arc.
Duke Blue Devils
In its last outing, Duke came very close to having its home court winning streak of 25 straight victories shattered, which is tied for the second longest streak in the nation. The only team with a longer streak than Duke is Stephen F. Austin at 26 games, while Florida has a matching 25-game tear. The Devils staved off a tremendous comeback by the Virginia Cavaliers to eke out a 69-65 victory after Rasheed Sulaimon bounced in the go-ahead 3-pointer with 18.8 seconds left. Sulaimon finished with a season-high 21 points including four 3-point shots. Rodney Hood added 14 for the Blue Devils. Debuting their lowest ranking since the last time they fell out of the AP Top 25 in February 2007, they let an 11-point lead with 3 1/2 minutes completely slip away before finding a way to avoid a third loss in four games. Sophomore forward Amile Jefferson, who had two big rebounds in the final seconds, including one that led to Sulaimon’s final 3 noted “This has to be the game where we look back (and say) that game versus Virginia is where our guys bonded together and became a real Duke team”.
Duke is looking to improve to 11-0 on the season at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils have won at least 10 home games in 18 straight seasons and 30 times overall under Mike Krzyzewski. They have won 24 straight home games against unranked opponents, dating back to a 78-74 overtime loss to Miami on February 5, 2012. Coach K is three wins shy of becoming the second coach in NCAA Division I history to record 900 wins at one school. Already the NCAA Division I all-time leader with 970 wins, he trails only Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (934) for the most wins at one school. In addition, he is seeking his 200th career ACC win at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Coach K, already the league record holder for home ACC wins, is 199-50 (.799) in league play at the historic venue.
Rodney Hood averages a team-leading 19.8 PPG in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Hood is shooting 63-of-110 (.573) from the floor, 22-of-47 (.468) from three-point range and 50-of-55 (.909) from the free throw line at home. He leads the ACC with a .468 (36-of-77) three-point percentage on the year. He has hit a three-pointer in 16 of 17 games and at least one trey in 15 straight outings. Duke has at least one 20-point scorer in 16 of 17 games this season. Jabari Parker has a team-high 10 20-point games, followed by Rodney Hood (8, plus one 30-point game), Quinn Cook (3), Rasheed Sulaimon (2), and Andre Dawkins (1).
Sulaimon is Duke’s leading scorer off the bench, averaging 10.1 points per game when not in the starting lineup. Five of his six double-figure scoring games this season have come from the bench, including a 21-point effort in Monday’s win over Virginia. Amile Jefferson is third in ACC play with 10.0 rebounds per game. He has led the team in rebounds in three of Duke’s four league games with a pair of double-figure efforts. Jefferson recorded a career-best 15 boards versus Virginia.
Duke leads the all-time series 140-98. At Cameron Indoor Stadium Duke leads 48-23, and under Coach K Duke leads 49-21. 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.
When we look at the four factors to winning, Duke has the edge in three of the four. The Blue Devils edge out the Wolfpack in the following: shooting (eFG% of 56.2 vs. 49.7), ball handling (TO% of 14.2 vs. 16.2), and shooting free throws (FT Rate of 42.3% vs. 36.3%). Not surprisingly, NC State has the edge in offensive rebounding (OR% of 35 vs. 29.7).
Duke struggles defending quick, penetrating guards. N.C. State has Cat Barber and Tyler Lewis, not to mention one of the best scorers in the country in T.J. Warren. This will be one of the toughest outs for Duke with Cat Barber being probably the fastest guard in the ACC, luckily for Duke Matt Jones knows Barber well from the AAU circuit. Coming off of 2 straight Losses this team is hungry and Duke will need to try to curb the rebounding advantage that State will probably have, and cut down on the assist numbers of Barber and Lewis. If Duke can shut down the dynamic scorer T.J. Warren and force the other State players into unfamiliar roles.
Duke should win this game on talent but it’s hard to predict the Devils this year, and even harder to predict State. Whichever of these young teams put together a solid effort on the boards and from the free throw line should have the advantage. If Duke can take advantage of turnovers and rebound effectively they will have the advantage but Gottfried has played Duke well since joining the ACC and Duke will have to build on the UVA game or else that progress was all for naught.