NC State Wolfpack vs. #2 Duke Blue Devils
Gametime: 8:00 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC
Get to know Duke…
Duke come into this game ranked #2 at 13-1 on the season. Their only loss came against BC at their place. Their quality wins are over then #2 Michigan State, #7 Florida, and #24 FSU.
This is not a deep Duke team. They are going to rely on their 5 starters for almost all of their production. Gary Trent Jr (PG), Grayson Allen (G), Trevon Duval (G), Marvin Bagley III (F) and Wendell Carter Jr (C) will start and play about 90% of Dukes minutes.
Duke is a team that shoots it well and puts a ton of pressure on your defense. Allen and Bagley are the stars and they are always in attack mode. Bagley is putting up insane numbers (22 pts and 12 boards), while Allen is averaging 17 points and 4 assists per game.
Offensively, they use Allen to create on the high screen. He likes to turn the corner get into the teeth of the defense and find the open man. Obviously, he’s a big threat to score as well.
Defensively, Duke isn’t all that great. They rely on their size in the middle to bother teams, but their perimeter defense is decent at best.
Keys to the game for NC State…
- Don’t let Bagley catch it too deep. This kid is elite, and allowing him to catch the ball too deep on the block is going to end in a dunk. They need to invite him to shoot it. They also need to not help off of him on drives. This is how Duke scores. They get Allen or Duval in the lane, draw the D and dump it to the bigs for a dunk. NC State’s guards NEED to stop penetration.
- Let Trevon Duval shoot it. He’s really good at getting in the lane and getting to the rim, but isn’t a very good shooter (yet), so NC State needs to play off of him and invite him to shoot. If you lose because Duval is hitting 3s, then you live with that.
- Stop Allen, you stop Duke. But that’s not that easy of a task. The kid isn’t the quickest, but his ability to knock down the 3 at a super high clip (43%) makes teams have to contest his shots. That’s why his pump fake is so devastating. He gets you in the air, then attacks the rim. This shifts the defense, and Duke then shares the ball so well that they find an easy shot. Does the Pack have anyone good enough to bother Allen? I don’t know.
- Share the basketball. This team is going to get blown of the water if they play 1 on 1 basketball. They need to create to pass and move the ball with some intent. I’d rather see this team over-pass then continue to go one and one and fire up contested shots all night long.
- Take advantage of Duke’s youth. They need to keep the ball out of Allen’s hands if they can. Make Duval and Trent Jr. handle it against the press and hope they get flustered. One problem, however, will be Bagley’s ability to be a solid outlet in the press. He’s huge and can handle it.
- Abu needs to get his act together. Not to be harsh here, because he’s been out with an injury and is still getting back to being comfortable on the court, but he is a senior. This is it for him. He has a body and a skill set that can make him some money after his run in Raleigh is over, but he better start turning it on. This is a guy who is a physical specimen. He’s explosive, strong and a great motor, but it’s all be wasted by a desire to be a jump shooter. Abu needs to punish teams inside if the Pack is going to make any noise in this conference. He can take a few jumpers here and there, but why do you think he’s always open from 15 feet out? Teams don’t want Abu taking it at the rim, they’d love for him to keep his athletic 6’8 frame as far away from the basket as possible.
- Batts needs to be a PG. We ran an entire piece, statistically breaking down the play of freshman Lavar Batts Jr and the diagnosis was clear. For Batts to really help this team, he needs to create for others, not himself. He’s shooting the worst percentage on the team, and while we understand he feels he can put points on the board for the Pack, they need his role to be a disruptor and distributor first and scorer 2nd. It’s what the team is missing big time right now. Batts could carve out some major minutes on thei basketball team if he would just quit shooting so much and dedicate his game on driving, probing and shifting the defense, in order to find easy shots for his teammates.