NC State at Duke
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham
TV/radio: ESPN, 101.5-WRAL, 620-WDNC
Dennis Smith Jr. (18.9 ppg, 6.6 apg) vs. Frank Jackson (11.1 ppg, 1.6 apg)
Given the way Duke played in the second half against Miami, outscoring the Hurricanes 45-22, don’t be surprised if interim coach Jeff Capel goes with the lineup that started the second half. Jackson is closer to a point-guard option than Grayson Allen, plus Allen’s left pinky finger got pretty busted up in the Miami game.
Jackson and Smith have plenty of history on the AAU circuit, this is just a bigger stage. Smith was completely ineffective in his other showcase game in the Triangle, at North Carolina on Jan. 8, so he should be sufficiently motivated. Smith does lead the ACC in assists and steals.
Expect Capel to dust off some of Mike Krzyzewski’s defensive tricks – full-court pressure, double-team at the halfcourt line – to make Smith give up the ball. Edge: N.C. State
Maverick Rowan (11.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg) vs. Matt Jones (8.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
Jones is coming off one of his best performance of the season, 13 points and three 3-pointers in the second half of Saturday’s win, and when Duke needed it most. Jones hit a couple of key 3-pointers in Duke’s win in Raleigh last season, and he was 4-of-9 from 3 in three games against the Wolfpack.
Rowan has averaged 17 points the past three ACC games and has gone 12-of-24 from the 3-point line. He shot well in Durham last year (4-of-8 from the 3-point line) and scored 17 points in a Wolfpack loss. The question always with Rowan is on the defensive end. Edge: Duke
Terry Henderson (15.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg) vs. Jayson Tatum (16.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg)
The structure of this Duke lineup with a point and true post (Bolden), leaves no doubt the first option is Tatum. The freshman wing has struggled at times at when to be assertive and when he’s trying to do too much. In that way, it’s similar to what Austin Rivers went through in his lone season at Duke. Tatum, like Miami’s Davon Reed or Pitt’s Michael Young or Georgia Tech’s Quinton Stephens, should be able to find plenty of daylight in State’s leaky defense.
Henderson has to be N.C. State’s leader for the Wolfpack to be successful. Smith’s the best player, but Henderson is the older, experienced player who the rest of the team will follow. He was superb against Pittsburgh, in critical moments especially, but was absent for most of the Wake Forest game. He was key in a late surge for the Wolfpack on Saturday but it was too little, too late. Edge: Duke
Abdul-Malik Abu (11.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg) vs. Amile Jefferson (13.1 ppg, 10.2 rpg)
Jefferson broke N.C. State’s heart when he picked Duke five years ago after a protracted recruiting battle. N.C. State has done a pretty good job in controlling him in six career games (5.5 points, 6.0 rebounds). His leadership and defense are the difference for Duke, though (with or without Grayson Allen) and when he’s healthy this season Duke could not ask for more.
Abu has been inconsistent, with 20 points against Wake Forest but only two against Pittsburgh. He did have a standout game (19 points, nine rebounds) against Duke last year in the ACC tournament. Edge: Duke
Omer Yurtseven (7.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg) vs. Marques Bolden (2.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg)
Bolden played a season-high 23 minutes against Miami and had eight points and four rebounds. His presence alone helps Jefferson, in particular. Bolden’s just starting to scratch the surface of his potential.
Yurtseven looked good against Pitt on Tuesday and then struggled against Wake Forest star John Collins on Saturday. N.C. State needs Yurtseven to be aggressive, without fouling, which the 7-foot Turk has had trouble figuring out. Edge: Duke
This really isn’t fair if Duke’s going to bring its leading scorer (Luke Kennard, 19.7 points per game), an All-ACC guard (Allen, 15.2 points per game) and the No. 1 recruit in the country (forward Harry Giles, 5.1 points per game) off the bench.
N.C. State has some talent on its bench, in freshman guard Markell Johnson and sophomore guard Torin Dorn, but not quite like Duke’s. Edge: Duke