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NC State closes out its regular season at Duke

Can the Pack hand Duke its first home loss?

NCAA Basketball: Duke at N.C. State Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

NC State can put Saturday’s debacle behind it tonight in Durham, and on that note, thank goodness this was a quick turnaround. Having to live with that game for a couple days was long enough, thank you.

Duke comes into the evening winners of four straight, as the Blue Devils have taken advantage of a soft finish to the schedule. They’ve won three straight (Cuse**, Louisville, VT) by 16+ points. They still haven’t lost a home game this season.

(**On a side note, Syracuse hasn’t won since beating State and lost all of its subsequent games by at least 17. I think State broke Syracuse.)

When NC State and Duke met in Raleigh, the Wolfpack opened on a 20-2 run, and while I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, I should point out that a repeat of that start is rather unlikely. The Blue Devils shot the ball poorly and also turned it over on nearly 30% of their possessions, so they were never able to get back into that one.

Turnovers have been a bit of a problem for Duke all season, and in league games the Blue Devils rank 14th in TO% at 19.1. The Pack will need to leverage its advantages here once again.

NC State also needs a repeat of its effort on the defensive glass in Raleigh. Duke leads the ACC with an OR% of 34.1% in conference games but grabbed a more modest 26.5% of its missed shots at State. Duke’s been a pretty average shooting team all season, so rebounding can mean a lot to its overall efficiency.

Matching up on the glass can be a tougher ask on the road but probably will be important to the outcome tonight. Unless Duke is shooting the lights out, in which case we’re screwed regardless. Cheers!

KenPom has Duke by five.