ACC Tournament Day 2: NC State vs Duke preview

Mark Armstrong Image
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Duke's Brandon Ingram (14) grabs a rebound against North Carolina State's Cody Martin, left, and Lennard Freeman on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. Duke won 88-80.

When I asked Cat Barber yesterday about getting a third shot at the Blue Devils - he said "Right now - I'm gonna get some rest. I'll worry about that tomorrow." The weary look on his face said even more. It's been a long season of long games for Cat, but he needs to find some more fuel in the tank today.

Cat's not the only one feeling fatigued. Duke is telling a similar story as it hits DC. The Blue Devils were mauled by Carolina last Saturday, not on the scoreboard, but certainly on the court, surrendering a cartoonish 35 rebounds more to the Heels than they pulled down. It's that lack of board beef that State needs to capitalize on this afternoon to have a shot. Malik Abu, BeeJay Anya and even the hobbled Lennard Freeman have to dominate the glass, because when it comes to raw firepower, they cannot hang with Grayson Allen, Brandon Ingram and Luke Kennard.

Allen averaged nearly 30 per game in the Devils first two wins over State this year and there's no reason to believe he won't do the same again today. Ingram will want to bounce back from a rough, foul ridden outing versus the Tar Heels, and I expect he'll do that.

State's ace in the hole yesterday wound up being Maverick Rowan. I have a hard time believing his shooting heat will extend into a second day. Cat had a quiet 22 yesterday, he'll need to be massive for State to have a shot to get through to the quarters.

The Pack has been competitive in each game vs the Blue Devils. Competitive won't cut it if they want to extend their season. I just don't think State has enough. Give me Duke in a relative walk, 81-66.