Durham, NC — NC State and Duke have been two of the ACC’s hottest groups in February. NC State is 5-3, Duke 5-2. All of their collective losses have come down the street aside from the one which inflicted essentially the most ache – Clemson’s 25-point win over the Wolfpack on Saturday at PNC Area.
Clemson had been one of many ACC’s coldest groups. Starting with a Jan. 31 loss to Boston Faculty, the Tigers fell 4 occasions in six video games and have been blown out at UNC and the Louisville low.
However Clemson got here to Raleigh – within the phrases of Kevin Keatts – “and noticed a giant basket”. The Tigers scored in eight of their first 9 possessions and led 21-9 within the first 5 minutes. The router was turned on.
For its half, NC State bore no resemblance to the defensive unit that pressured 14 turnovers at Wake Forest and stored UNC at 35% off the bottom.
Clemson shot 62% within the first half and had eight factors from turnovers. NC State, whose basketball way of life depends closely on making steals and working the opposite method, didn’t report factors from turnovers till the second half, when the sport was already over.
NC State had a golden alternative to maneuver forward of Clemson and probably earn a top-four spot within the ACC match and an additional day without work in Greensboro. One of the best the pack can hope for is fifth seed, and that requires a Tuesday night time win at Duke, who can also be eyeing fifth seed or greater.
On Jan. 4, NC State demolished the Blue Devils 84-60 in Raleigh, however a lot has modified for this staff previously seven weeks. Duke is now the highest-ranked ACC staff on the NET at No. 25, forward of Virginia and Miami, who fell to twenty-eight and 34, respectively, after their losses this weekend. NC State additionally fell from 36 to 42 within the NCAA rankings.
Because the controversial Virginia loss, Duke has steadily improved, beating Notre Dame, Syracuse, Louisville and Virginia Tech by a median of 15 factors. Most not too long ago, the Blue Devils made brief work of a hokie staff that defeated the Devils in January.
Led by Jeremy Roach and his sidekick Tyrese Proctor, Duke attacked the basket from the beginning at Cameron on Saturday night time. Roach had 19 factors and 10 assists whereas Proctor had 10 and 5. Predicted first-round draft decide Dereck Full of life II was a giant beneficiary, scoring 13 factors, totally on alley-oops and dunks. Freshman Mark Mitchell additionally had a monster night time with 17 factors and eight rebounds.
The Devils held Virginia Tech solely 40% off the bottom, focusing specifically on sniper Hunter Cattoor. The 2022 ACC Event MVP was held at 4 pictures and 6 factors, largely by Proctor.
The opposite large story: gross sales. Duke has spat out the basketball simply 9 occasions after committing simply six turnovers to Louisville. Understand that Duke flips basketball extra occasions in convention play than every other staff besides Louisville. And that’s the very first thing to be careful for as we assess Tuesday’s showdown.
NC State vs. Duke spherical two
Tempo and turnover: Duke received’t wish to play NC State’s tempo. The Blue Devils common 67 possessions per sport. That’s 301st within the nation. Notre Dame and Virginia are the one ACC groups enjoying extra consciously. Now Duke has scored 80 or extra factors thrice this ACC season. However that’s due to offensive effectivity, not velocity. NC State now averages 72 possessions per sport. Within the ACC, solely UNC and Wake Forest play (barely) quicker. And velocity counts for the wolf pack. There have been 4 convention video games during which State failed to attain 70 factors. Kevin Keatts’ staff is 0-4 in these video games. If the rating is 70 or extra, State is 12-3. Defensive strain is NC State’s channel for upping the tempo. The Wolfpack forces greater than 12 turnovers per sport and is just surpassed by Virginia. NC State averages greater than 7 steals per sport, additionally one of many ACC’s high two numbers. Steals are essential as a result of they symbolize reside ball turnovers that give Jarkel Joiner and Terquavion Smith an opportunity to fold and run. These two guards and third guard Casey Morsell discover their taking pictures rhythm extra in transition than in a pure halffield sport. In order that’s the place Duke’s penchant for gross sales comes into focus. When the Blue Devils attain their 12.67 turnovers-per-game common in ACC competitors, NC State provides it a shot — particularly for the reason that Wolfpack don’t sometimes flip the ball over. But when Duke can restrict turnovers to 10 or fewer, will probably be tough for NC State to win.
perimeter taking pictures: Taking pictures three-pointers and defending the bow are as a lot part of Kevin Keatts’ basic philosophy as profitable the turnover battle. Nonetheless, Duke might need a small benefit right here. The Blue Devils began the season poorly from lengthy vary, however due to improved ball movement, they’re now taking pictures 35% from three – seventh place in all-ACC video games. NC State has tried 70 extra three-pointers than Duke, however the pack ranks simply eleventh within the league, scoring lower than 34%. When it comes to arch protection, NC State is third and Duke is fifth, so there’s not an enormous distinction. Taking pictures benefit will rely on tempo I believe. NC State scored 8-20 in an up and down sport in opposition to Wake Forest. However in opposition to defensive-minded Virginia, State solely went 8-27. Duke is now fairly proficient at hitting the three-ball in a half-court. The Blue Devils have 5 or 6 gamers taking pictures 34% plus from past the arc. So except NC State can actually get their arms in all of those guys’ faces or actually disrupt the motion and sharp passing that sparks these pictures, Duke can win the three-pointer combat.
colour dots: On condition that Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner have been, say, streaky, taking pictures jumpers inside and outside the arc, DJ Burns has turn out to be a vital asset for the NC State offense. Burns is averaging 16 factors per sport however has actually thrived in low block recently, notching 18 in opposition to UNC, 21 in opposition to Wake Forest and 24 within the loss to Clemson. The 275-pound Burns has nice footwork and shoots jumpers, hooks, and soar hooks with each arms; and naturally he can bodily combat his approach to the basket. However on Tuesday night time, the 6’9 Burns takes on the 7′ 1” Dereck Full of life, who’s averaging 2.5 blocks a sport in ACC play. Typically he will get greater than that. Full of life blocked three pictures in opposition to Virginia Tech on Saturday and who may overlook his eight-block efficiency in opposition to UNC, a one-man block celebration that was one after the Devils’ 63-57 win led actual celebration? Moreover, Duke has the 7′ Kyle Filipowski and the sturdy Ryan Younger prepared to protect Burns, particularly when Full of life will get into dire bother. And who may blame Duke for soiling Burns? He solely shoots 61% from the road. Going the opposite method, State will want a giant night time from Greg Gantt and Ernest Ross defensively. You’ll possible be tasked with guarding Filipowski, who can rating from each inside and out of doors. Burns might be going after Full of life. The Duke Large Man doesn’t create his personal shot at this level, however when the Devils’ perimeter gamers get in, their lobs are deadly to Full of life. Particularly when Duke misses, NC State must open up. The Blue Devils rebound 34% of their pictures that don’t go in.
*How will State cope with Duke’s massive lineup? That is the Blue Devils’ beginning lineup, in spite of everything, and makes for at the least one awkward matchup. 6’8” Mark Mitchell simply had a breakout sport. However in Kevin Keatt’s normal beginning 5, Mitchell would just about must be guarded by 6’3 Casey Morsell or 6’4” Terquavion Smith.
*Will Jack Clark play? Clark took a nasty crash on the finish of the Wake Forest sport and was nonetheless in ache on Saturday, so he didn’t face Clemson. But when the 6’8-inch Clark is keen to present Keatt’s 10-Quarter-hour at Durham, it may give the wolf pack at both finish of the ground a lift.
*Fouls: NC State has dedicated 36 extra fouls than its opponents this season. Sending Duke to the road just isn’t advisable. The Blue Devils hit 76% of their free throws in league play. In distinction, NC State solely shoots 71% in convention video games. Solely Virginia and Georgia Tech are worse.
* Motivating Components: Duke can nonetheless end within the high 4 within the league and earn a double bye with wins over NC State and UNC, and Clemson’s losses to Virginia and Notre Dame. Apart from the pandemic-stricken 2021 season, the Large 4 have had at the least one (usually extra) staff within the high 4 within the Atlantic Coast Convention standings since 1954. Duke is the one Large 4 staff able to retaining this wonderful collection alive. NC State missed its likelihood to go Clemson and end within the high 4. Nonetheless, the pack nonetheless has rather a lot to supply. A win at Duke (NET #25) would give that staff one other Quad I win (at the moment 2-5) and certain put State again within the NET’s high 40. Additionally, that is the final common season sport of the Wolfpack. It’s much better to choose up a school-record thirteenth ACC win and go to Greensboro with the momentum of a win than take a two-shot dropping streak to the ACC match. The NCAA Event Choice Committee will probably be watching.
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