On Thursday, the fourth-seeded Duke Blue Devils (25-6) battle the fifth-seeded North Carolina State Wolfpack (20-12, 10-10 ACC) in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinals in Greensboro, NC. Tip-off is set for 2:30 pm ET inside the Greensboro Coliseum.
Like many conference tournaments, it was announced late Wednesday night that the remaining ACC tournament games will be held without fans. The two teams split their regular-season contests, each winning on their own home floor. Duke is an eight-point favorite in the contest.
What to Know – Duke
The Blue Devils enter conference tournament play ending the season with wins over rival North Carolina and the Wolfpack. Duke has captured the tournament title in two of the last three seasons, including last year.
The reigning tournament champion has 21 tournament titles, most of any team in the league. The Blue Devils are 28-10 inside Greensboro Coliseum in tournament play under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Duke is guided both offensively and defensively by ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Tre Jones and Freshman of the Year Vernon Carey Jr. Carey is Duke’s leading scorer, averaging 17.8 points per game. The sophomore guard Jones chips in 16.2 per game and has a team-high 185 assists on the season.
The Blue Devils showcase the nation’s second-highest scoring offense, pouring in 82.5 points per game and winning by an average margin of 14.4 per game (fifth in the nation). Duke is 17-2 this season when they have four or players score in double figures. Defensively the Blue Devils hold opponents to a scoring average of 68.0 ppg.
What to Know – North Carolina State
North Carolina State opened the conference tournament with a 15-point rout against Pittsburgh on Wednesday in the opening round of the tournament. The Wolfpack shot 47.5% from the field but just 25% from the arc. A win against the Blue Devils would bolster a bubble team résumé in need of a marquee victory prior to Selection Sunday.
Redshirt junior guard Devon Daniels paced the Wolfpack in their victory over the Panthers, scoring 23 points on 9-14 shooting from the field. C.J. Bryce (14.0 ppg), Markell Johnson (12.6), D.J. Funderburk (12.6), and Daniels (12.4) average in double figures for the Wolfpack.
Daniels was also the team’s leading scorer the last time out against Duke, netting 14 points in the loss.
Through Wednesday’s contest, the Wolfpack are averaging 74.4 points per game on offense and surrendering 70.3 per game defensively. NC State currently ranks 54th in the NET rankings and 50th in the KenPom, which is right on the bubble line.
The Pick is In
This is an interesting game to pick without fans from either team being present. History would tell us that the Duke contingent would have made this feel like a home game for the Blue Devils.
Although the Blue Devils will be well-rested, we see this one staying pretty close. Give us the Wolfpack +8.