Durham, NC – The NC State Wolfpack will try to pick up a ranked Duke Blue Devils in an Atlantic Coast Conference battle.
Duke and NC State have met 235 times heading into tonight as the series dates back to 1912. The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 138-97, including a 46-23 mark at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke has won two straight and five of the last six in the rivalry. NC State has lost in its last 13 visits to Durham, and has been outscored by an average of 18.2 ppg during that span.
Mark Gottfried has done a remarkable job in his first season at the helm in Raleigh, as he has led the Wolfpack to an 18-7 overall record and a 7-3 mark in ACC action. NC State is trailing the conference leading North Carolina Tar Heels by 1.5 games, and would be tied for second place in the standings if it pulls off the upset today. The Wolfpack won their third game in a row a week ago, as they bested the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 61-52, on the road. The Yellow Jackets were unable to figure out a way to score against NC State, as they shot 32.2 percent from the field in the contest. The strong defensive showing was a breath of fresh air, as the Wolfpack have relied on their strong scoring offense (74.3 ppg, 3rd in ACC) for success.
NC State has a very balanced attack as five players average 11 points or more per game. Scott Wood and C.J. Leslie are both exceptional offensive players with averages of 13 ppg or better. C.J. Williams, Lorenzo Brown, and Richard Howell all get into the mix on a consistent basis. Howell if the fourth-best rebounder in the ACC with 9.2 boards per game. Williams led the team with 15 points in last week's win vs. Georgia Tech.
Coach K has put together yet another phenomenal season so far, as his Blue Devils come in with a 21-4 overall record and just a win away from being tied for the top spot in the ACC. After its thrilling victory over UNC on Feb. 8th in the Battle of Tobacco Road, Duke picked up its second straight victory with a 73-55 triumph over the Maryland Terrapins. Although the Blue Devils shot only 38.5 percent from the floor, they held a dominant 48-33 edge in the rebounding battle to glide past the Terps. Duke is second in the ACC in scoring offense with an average of 79.7 ppg, but it ranks 10th in the league in scoring defense with an allowed average of 69.1 ppg.
The Blue Devils have found leadership from their blue chip freshman Austin Rivers. The freshman guard paces the team with 15.0 ppg on 45 percent shooting from the field. Rivers had back-to-back 20-plus point outings before he netted 11 points versus Maryland on Saturday. Seth Curry scored a game-high 19 points against the Terrapins, while Mason Plumlee added a double-double of 16 points and 10 boards. Ryan Kelly and Andre Dawkins are additional highly capable contributors for Duke, which has made it one of the most feared teams in the nation.