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NC State looks to shock the world against #8 Duke | Breakdown, Preview & How to Watch

NC State Basketball

NC State looks to shock the world against #8 Duke | Breakdown, Preview & How to Watch

NC State looks to shock the world against #8 Duke | Breakdown, Preview & How to Watch

NC State Wolfpack @ #8 Duke
Time: 2:00pm | Saturday, January 15
Location: Durham, NC
Ken Pom Line: Duke -15

NC State is coming off of their best performance of the season in their 16 point road win at Louisville. The only bad news is that they are now running straight into a buzz saw in the Duke Blue Devils.

Duke is 13-2 on the season and 3-1 in the conference. They have notable wins against #10 Kentucky and #1 Gonzaga. Their two losses were to OSU and most recently, Miami.

Duke is elite both offensively and on defense. They lead the ACC in points per game, assists per game, FG%. They are 5th in 3pt %.  Defensively they are the Duke you’ve always known. They play up in the passing lanes, make it tough on offenses to run their sets, and rebound the ball well (3rd in the conference).

Their star is freshman phenom, Paolo Banchero. The kid is 6’10, moves like a guard, shoots like a guard, and can do it all at an elite level. He is averaging 17.7 ppg, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. He’s shooting 34% from long range, and hitting 49% of his FGs. Slowing him down is the biggest problem State is going to have.

Their other big-time player is Wendell Moore Jr, who is another versatile forward, averaging 15.4 ppg and 5.8 rebounds, and 5 assists (leading the ACC).

Then there is freshman PG Trevor Keels, who is averaging 12ppg,  3.6 rebounds and almost 3 assists.

After that, they have a bunch of guys averaging 6 or 8, meaning they can get scoring from almost anyone on the court. Lately, they’ve gotten great play from 6’6 freshman forward AJ Griffin who dropped 22 on Wake this past week.

Duke is a problem for NC State. They are hard to match up with, they are very physical and they are relentless on defense, despite being so young.

Keys for NC State

  • Key in on slowing down Wendell Moore Jr. 
    I know most teams come in focused on Paolo Banchero. He’s the big name, putting up the big points, but if you want to cut the heart out of this team, you cut Wendell Moore Jr. This is their leader. He’s a junior who sets the tone for them. He’s filling up the stat sheet nightly, and without him, they are a young team that can be forced into mistakes. The good news for State is that he’s been in a 3 game mini-funk. He scored just 8 points on 2-11 shooting vs. GT, he turned the ball over 6 times in the loss to Miami and only had 7 this past Wednesday vs. Wake. Keeping that funk going for one more game is what Keatts needs to have his guys focus on.
  • Do NOT leave your man! No help side on the post
    Duke wants to create havoc on offense. They do a great job of driving, dishing, feeding the post, and looking opposite. This gets the defense on their heels trying to help and recover faster than Duke can move the ball. Spoiler alert: You can’t. They exploit the moments of recovery by driving to the basket with physicality, drawing fouls, or kicking it out to open shooters. The good news for State is that they have a roster where they can switch everything. This will help them to a degree, but Duke will likely start trying to feed the post. They have a 7’0 center Mark Williams who will have an advantage, but it’s one that NC State shouldn’t worry too much about. If Mark Williams beats you, then fine. Let him play one on one in the post. He only averages 8.6 points per game, he’s not superphysical and he’s really not a dynamic offensive player. Stay home, guard the drives, and limit open 3s. In both of Duke’s losses, they’ve shot below 30% from 3. Keeping that percentage down in that range is how NC State can win this game.
  • Attack, Attack, Attack!
    When NC State has upset Duke over the years, they’ve found success with breaking down Duke off the dribble. The Blue Devils aren’t going to sag down. They want to be in the passing lanes, pressuring the ball and stopping point to point passes. This opens up the lane. Lucky for NC State, they might have the best guy in the ACC at breaking people down off the dribble and getting to the hoop in Dereon Seabron. State needs to be in attack mode off the dribble and they don’t need to be hoisting up a ton of contested 3s. Seabron vs. Moore Jr. is going to be a pretty awesome matchup to watch. Duke is likely going to trust Moore in keeping Seabron out of the lane, which no team has really been able to do very well this season.
  • Find the right lineup
    Duke pretty much plays a PG, 3 forwards and a center. Their 3 forwards, however, are basically giant combo guards. If any team in the ACC is built to defend them, it’s NC State. Seabron matches up well with Moore. Hellems actually should do pretty decent on Bancharo despite a 3 inch difference. He’s more physical and can guard both the post and the perimeter. And Ross or Dowuona will be up against Williams. What will be interesting is how they guard Keels and Griffen. This might be a game where you REALLY need Casey Morsell to show up. Morsell is NC State’s best perimeter defender and would have no problem matching up AJ Griffen, this would allow Smith to go up against Keels (both are 6’4). Smith may get a little frustrated in this one with the physicality of Duke’s guards, so that is something to watch. This is where we get a little nervous. Allen has been playing well for State, but this game doesn’t really lend itself to his defensive skill set. This is a game you might see Hayes a little more because of his size, or Morsell if he can get his shot to start falling. No matter how you slice is, Duke is where they are because they have a lineup that can create a ton of mismatches. NC State can minimize more of that than most teams, but it will still be a problem.
  • Exploit their youth
    This Duke team is going to start 3 freshmen, a sophomore, and a junior. If you let them get comfortable, they will beat you, but if you can speed them up, you can get them out of sync. Against Miami, Duke wilted under the pressure. They turned the ball over 17 times. Keatts is likely well aware of this and will have his team pressing early and often. They may get burned on the press a few times, but against this Duke team, you can’t let them get settled, feel comfortable and find momentum.

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4 months ago

Get after Duke’s ass!

4 months ago

“Don’t leave your man!” How true. Seems like THE weakness in State’s defense. It is why so many so-so bigs have had huge days against the Pack.

4 months ago
Reply to  Rev

Yup, its a trade off we have to live with. Take our lumps on the inside and do our best to get our share of rebounds. Cannot turn the ball over.

Last edited 4 months ago by Dof87

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