Duke vs. N.C. State
Records: Blue Devils 22-9, 11-7 ACC, Wolfpack 16-16, 5-13
Time/TV: 2:30 p.m., ESPN, WRAL
Previous meetings this season: Jan. 23 (Raleigh): Duke W 88-78; Feb. 6 (Durham): Duke W 88-80
Last ACC tournament meeting: Duke, 77-53 (2015)
Players to watch: Grayson Allen, G, Duke: Allen scored 28 points in each of the previous two games between the Blue Devils and Wolfpack and did so while shooting 60.7 percent from the field. The combination of Allen and Brandon Ingram creates tough defensive decisions for N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried.
Cat Barber, G, N.C. State: Last time the two teams played, Duke committed three guys to stopping Barber, hedging on both sides of ball screens. After the game in Durham, in which Barber scored 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was as complementary of Barber as he has been of any opponent this season.
“He gives them a chance to win every game,” Krzyzewski said of Barber. “He’s the toughest out in the league.”
Bottom line: Duke has eliminated the Wolfpack from the past two ACC tournaments and will be favored to do so again. Devoting so much defensive attention to Barber will work better for Duke if the Wolfpack doesn’t have another player go off, like Maverick Rowan did against Wake Forest Tuesday (24 points off of six 3s). But finding that consistent second scoring option has been problematic for N.C. State all year.
The Blue Devils have had three full days to recover physically after losing Saturday to North Carolina. They traveled to D.C. on Monday and will be the most rested they’ll be this week.