North Carolina State handed Duke their first lost of the season the first time these two met in Raleigh. Tonight, Duke seeks their revenge on the Wolfpack and this time the two will be playing in Cameron Indoor where the Blue Devils are yet to lose this year.
The first game, Duke was without senior center, Ryan Kelly who is a major part of their team and tonight Kelly won’t be playing again, but the Blue Devils have finally figured out a way to win without him.
North Carolina State on the other hand, may also be missing one of their best players in Lorenzo Brown. Brown is one of the best passing point guards in the nation and really gets everyone involved in the offense, but is questionable for the game tonight.
Duke is 19-2 overall and 6-2 in ACC play while the preseason conference favorite Wolfpack are 16-6 and and 5-4 in the conference. The Wolfpack enter on a two-game losing streak and the Blue Devils enter on a three-game winning streak, but you can throw out winning and losing streaks for tonight’s game.
Lorenzo Brown played a huge part in the previous meeting and could be a major loss if unable to play. Tyler Lewis, a freshman, will have to fill his shoes and he showed he could do that against Miami. He scored a career high 16 points and recorded 5 assists, but that wasn’t against the defensive intensity that the Blue Devils bring.
Amile Jefferson and Josh Hairston have continued to improve while filling the shoes of Ryan Kelly. The Blue Devils have finally adapted to having either Jefferson or Hairston in the game instead of Kelly and have begun setting screens to free up shooters like Seth Curry and Rasheed Sulaimon who have been shooting lights out recently.
Quinn Cook has continued to run the offense and knock down his fair share of shots effectively even without being able to dish the ball to Kelly. Mason Plumlee has realized his team really needs him now and that he is the Blue Devils only true big man now. Overall, everyone on Duke has come together to do their fair share and help this team learn how to win without one of their best players.
North Carolina State will look to attack the paint tonight with their talented big men. C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell both had a tremendous game the last time they played Duke and will look to do the same tonight.
Talented freshmen, Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren will need to perform tonight and use their athleticism to get easy baskets in the paint. Scott Wood is going to have to get some open looks and knock them down to silence the Cameron Crazies or the Wolfpack might be in for a long night.
The Wolfpack have an extraordinary amount of talent on their team, but can they all play well enough to defeat the Blue Devils experience and home court advantage.
North Carolina State has lost their 14 games at Cameron Indoor and you know seniors, Richard Howell and Scott Wood are not going to want to lose every game they played on Coach K Court.