Thank goodness I have a couple of weeks before I have to write another full preview, because the last few games have killed my will to really look at anything seriously. Winning a game between now and then might help.
First meeting: Duke 92, NC State 78
What went wrong:
Just about everything at the defensive end. Duke shot well, rebounded a bunch of their missed shots, and generally had their way with the Wolfpack. It was an off night for Duke from beyond the arc, but their 61% two-point shooting made that moot.
What went right:
Sidney Lowe briefly got his team back into the game with a big lineup that he had been reluctant to use: Harrow, Wood, Leslie, Howell, Smith. That group led a run to start the second half that got the deficit down to six points at the first media timeout. State's offense was outstanding the entire half, scoring 50 points in total, 1.4 per possession.
They were able to limit turnovers all night, turning it over on just 12.5% of their possessions. Rebounding at the offensive end wasn't a problem, either.
Lowe press conference notes:
-- Ryan Harrow is still feeling the effects of his illness and will be a gametime decision tomorrow:
"[Ryan Harrow] was just very weak, couldn't keep much on his stomach for a while. They had the IV in for a while so he had to do that for a while. We're just trying to get him back to strength, really. I feel bad for him because he really wants to be out there. We'll see how he is today and probably won't push him too much and then decide from there."
-- Tracy Smith was in obvious pain during the Virginia Tech game but managed to play through it. Lowe said Tracy told him it felt like tendinitis. There is no indication that he won't be able to go on Saturday.
-- File under "things realized too late:"
"One thing that I realize now on this level is that if you just have five guys that play extremely hard every single play, in college basketball, you can be successful."
-- The Pomeroy Predictor likes Duke by 23 this time around. Our pals Mike Patrick and Len Elmore have the call. There is no escaping those guys this week.