N.C. State (13-7, 2-5) at Duke (15-4, 3-3)
When: Monday, January 23rd 2017
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN
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The Duke Blue Devils look to continue their home mastery of the North Carolina State Wolfpack when they host their in-state rivals on Monday night. North Carolina State has not won in Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1995 (16 straight) and have lost nine of the last 11 meetings overall. The Wolfpack got off to a nice 11-2 start to the season in non-conference play, but have dropped five of seven in league play including a 93-88 home loss to Wake Forest on Saturday. The Wolfpack rank 33rd in the nation in scoring (81.6), but that’s not translating to good play on the other end of the court. They have allowed opponents to shoot 49.5% in their seven losses this season and rank 285th in scoring defense (77.2). Freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (18.9 points, 6.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds) leads five players who average double digits in points and has been great defensively, recording 44 steals (ACC-best 2.2 per game). Backcourt mate Terry Henderson (15 points) and reserve guard Torin Dorn (12.1, 5.5 rebounds) provide solid scoring options on the perimeter, while Abdul-Malik Abu (11.4, 7.3) is the team’s top rebounder. It won’t get any easier for N.C. State after tonight as they travel to Louisville on Sunday.
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Duke was on the verge on losing their third straight on Saturday before a huge second half propelled them to a 70-58 win over Miami FL. They recovered from an 11-point halftime deficit and shot 66.7% in the second half against the Hurricanes. The Blue Devils are suffering a little bit of the injury bug as guard Grayson Allen (15.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists) dislocated his left pinkie finger against Miami, although he should be able to play on Monday. Forward Amile Jefferson (13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds) is playing through the pain of a foot injury but helped lead the comeback against the Hurricanes after missing the previous two contests. Even with the injuries, Duke showed off its depth against Miami with 31 bench points, led by 13 from defensive-minded Matt Jones and 10 from freshman guard Frank Jackson. The Blue Devils also get terrific numbers from guard Luke Kennard (19.7 points, 5.5 rebounds) and freshman forward Jayson Tatum (16.5, 6.3), who has scored in double figures in all 11 games he has played. Kennard has made a 3-pointer in 22 straight games, the longest active streak in the conference, and is shooting 50.9% from long range over his last 11 games.
North Carolina State’s defense is just too bad to slow down Duke. They might be able to keep it close for a half, but the Blue Devils depth will prevail and lead them to a big win.
Pick: Duke -16