NC State vs. #20Duke
2pm – PNC Arena – CBS
NC State is coming off their most impressive outing of the season, crushing a ranked Pitt team 78-61. Today they take on their next challenge, a #20 ranked Duke team that has dropped their last 3.
Now, don’t go thinking that this Duke team is going to lay down for NC State. They have had a week off and are starving for a victory. You know that Coach K will have his group ready. On the other hand, this NC State team is starting to gel and starting to trust each other. These factors should make for a very hard fought and intense matchup at the PNC.
Let’s take a look at the advantages NC State will have coming into this game…
Momentum rides with the Pack
State is coming off their biggest win of the season while Duke is looking for their identity after dropping 3 in a row. Look closer, however, and it become a lot deeper than the wins and losses.
State’s last two games have looked much different. They’ve gone with Cody Martin at the 3, giving them a true do-it-all guy who is willing to do the little things. Cody has been good at attacking the lane and not settling for jumpers. He’s also a good passer, and has helped move the ball in what was once a pretty stagnant offense. This has taken some of the pressure off of Barber, who needs to really keep his focus on scoring. The slight change in the lineup has also shifted NC State away from taking unnecessary 3s and allowed them to focus on getting the ball in the paint, which has ignited a surging Malik Abu. Cody Martin has also been vital on defense. In the past two games the Pack has looked much more aggressive and a ton more physical. He was able to shut down Marcus Paige and then did a great job against Pitt as well and it’s bled over to his teammates. Overall, this is a State team is doing the little things that were missing early in the season. They are focusing on fundamentals and it’s really starting to pay off.
For the Blue Devils, they are in a state of flux. They knew coming in that they would be a little thin in the middle, but after losing Amile Jefferson to a foot injury, they have been slow to adapt. They have had trouble finding out who they are. They have Marshall Plumlee in the middle, but aside from him they’ve had to rely on freshman Brandon Ingram. If you remember, Ingram was a Wolfpack recruit who picked Duke late in the process. Ingram is a talented player, but he’s raw and not great when you make him get physical. This has turned Duke into somewhat of a jump shooting team that is taking a lot of 3s. If Jones, Allen and Kennard get hot then they could be dangerous, but if they don’t then Duke struggles.
Physicality and Rebounding favors Wolfpack
This, to us, is going to be a major factor in this game. NC State comes in as the top rebounding team in the ACC with almost 43 boards per game and they out-rebound their opponents by 6 per game. This is a big deal because Duke is getting crushed on the boards lately. Against Syracuse they were murdered on the offensive glass, giving up 26 to the Orange.
Another key is front court depth. State isn’t super deep, but they do have Anya, Abu and Freeman who have been playing at a high level. Duke only has Plumlee as a reliable force in the middle. If State can get him in foul trouble, this game changes dramatically in favor of the Pack.
Interesting Matchups Could Favor NC State
Duke is going to come out with three 6’5 guards in Jones, Kennard and Allen. NC State is likely going to come out with Barber, Rowan and Cody Martin. It will be interesting to see who guards who. Jones is the least dangerous in terms of scoring, while Kennard and Allen are both good shooters who can attack the basket. Allen is more aggressive off the bounce while Kennard will opt to pull up or shoot from 3. Barber would be fine on Jones or Kennard, while Cody Martin will likely guard Allen. Cody give you length and physicality that can match the talented 2 guard pretty well.
The key for NC State’s defense will be their 2 guard spot. We’ll have to see how it plays out, but Rowan obviously is only in there to provide offense. His defense hasn’t been great, especially against guards who push the issue and try to get to the rim. If that ends up happening, you may see a little more Caleb Martin, as he brings a little more on the defensive end.
While those guard spots seem pretty evenly matched, size and athleticism wise, NC State may have a big advantage in paint. With Duke forced to go with Plumlee and Ingram, they will be giving up a lot of size, experience and physicality at the 4. Anya and Plumlee should be a decent matchup. Both are not great on the offensive end and both are mainly there for defense and rebounding. Anya needs to make sure he does not get in foul trouble and force Plumlee to shoot over top of him. If State has to guard Plumlee with Freeman (because of foul trouble then Duke gets the advantage.)
As for the 4 spot…this is where a lot of our focus is going to be. How will this Abu vs. Ingram matchup play out. First and foremost, Abu needs to be smart against Ingram. The freshman can shoot it and likely is not going to want to bang on the blocks with the bigger, stronger Abu. Malik has got to close out under control, and force him into tough long 2s. On offense, however, Abu should be massively aggressive. Ingram is no match for his size and athleticism. If State plays it right you should see him being fed on nearly every possession. K will almost certainly be forced to double this matchup…and how NC State responds to this will dictate the outcome of this game. If Abu can find the open man and exploit these double teams, then they will be able to really bother the Devils. If Duke is smart, they will try to mitigate risk and just go zone.
Cat must come out with killer mentality and laser focus
He’s certainly got a chip on his shoulder after being shut out in the last matchup with Duke, but he needs to be careful. Coach K knows he doesn’t have a single guard that can stay in front of Barber. If he goes man to man, Barber will put up massive numbers. K will likely throw a ton of zone at State, double Barber to get the ball out of his hands, and make the rest of the Pack beat them. Cat needs to understand this and realize how to beat it. He can’t try to do it all himself. He’ll need to trust his guys and let the game come to him. Establishing a dominant inside game will lead to Duke being forced to ease up on Cat. Taking quick shots is going to play into the Blue Devils hands, so you might see a press of some sort that attempts to speed State up. Staying patient and focused is vital. Let Duke show their hand, then adapt. Cat will have a big game if he can be patient and and strategic with his attack
NC State 84 BC 78: BOX SCORE
NC State is a Slight Underdog in ACC Opener vs. Boston College
NC State (4-2) will play their first ACC game of the 2023-24 season tomorrow on the road against Boston College (5-2), and they enter the game as slight underdogs. The Wolfpack are 1.5-point underdogs, and the Total is 150.5.
- NC State is 0-2 Straight Up as underdogs
- BC is 4-1 Straight Up as favorites.
- NC State is 2-4 Against the Spread.
- BC is 4-3 Against the Spread
- The Total has gone Under in 2 games for NC State, Over in 3 and Pushed in 1.
- The Total has gone Under in 3 games for Boston College and Over in 4.
- NC State is 6-4 in their last 10 games against BC Straight Up.
- NC State is 4–6 Against the Spread in their last 10 games against BC.
- The Total has gone Under in 5 games, and Under in the other 5.
#5 NC State 70 Vanderbilt 62: BOX SCORE (with notes)
The 5th ranked NC State Women’s Basketball team improved to 8-0 tonight, defeating Vanderbilt 70-62 in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge.
- Saniya Rivers scored 20+ points for the 2nd time this season, scoring 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting. She also chipped in 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
- River Baldwin posted her first double-double of the season. She scored 12 points and grabbed 10 boards.
- Aziaha James has now scored in double figures in 7 of 8 games, scoring 14 points tonight, shooting 6 of 10 from the field and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.
- Freshman Zoe Brooks led the Pack in steals (4) and assists (4).
- NC State didn’t shoot well, making only 39% of their shots. Fortunately, they held Vandy to 34.3% shooting.
The Wolfpack will host Illinois State on Sunday at 2pm.
NC State Stat Leaders Heading into the ACC Opener vs Boston College
This Saturday, NC State heads to Boston College for the now-annual early ACC opener. The Pack will face off against the Eagles at 4pm on ACC Network. Here is where the team is statistically after 6 games.
- Casey Morsell leads NC State in scoring with 14.5 ppg.
- The Pack has 4 double-digit scorers this season. Morsell (14.5), Jayden Taylor (13.3), DJ Burns (13) and DJ Horne (11.2)
(Last season State had 4 double-digit scorers as well. Terquavion (17.9), Joiner (17), Burns (12.5) and Morsell (11.8))
- After their top 4 scorers there is a big dip. Parker comes in at 6.8, O’Connell at 6.3, and Middlebrooks at 5.5 ppg.
(Last season Jack Clark was 5th on the team in scoring at 9 points and Mahorcic was at 8.7. However, both guys missed a large chunk of the season.)
- Burns is leading NC State in rebounding this year at 5.3 per game. Diarra is next with 5.3 (but is currently hampered by an ankle injury.)
- O’Connell is leading NC State in assists with 3.3 per game, and Burns is up next with 2.5. PG DJ Horne is only averaging 2.
- LJ Thomas and Mike O’Connell are tied in leading the team at .15 assists per minute.
- Jayden Taylor is leading NC State in 3pt %, shooting an outstanding 45.8%, while Morsell is up next at 34.6%. Horne is close behind at 33%.
(LJ Thomas is shooting 50% from 3, but only has 2 attempts.)
- Burns is leading the bigs, shooting 56.5% from the floor, while Middlebrooks is close behind at 54.2%. Dennis Parker Jr is coming in at 45.2%.
- For the guards, it’s Casey Morsell leading the way at 44.6% from the floor, while O’Connell is next up at 43.4%. Taylor is shooting 42.4%, and DJ Horne is struggling a bit, shooting just 34.8% from the field.
- Jayden Taylor is turning the ball over the most at 1.8 times per game, while Burns is next at 1.7. Morsell is at 1.5 and O’Connell is at 1.2. DJ Horne has been doing a good job of protecting the basketball, turning it over just .3 times per game.