NC State might play Duke once this season and it’s unclear if Blue Devils retiring Mike Krzyzewski will be coaching.
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Scouting Duke

NC State might play Duke once this season and it’s unclear if Blue Devils retiring coach Mike Krzyzewski will be on the sidelines.

Krzyzewski missed Duke’s last game at Wake Forest, with heir apparent Jon Scheyer guiding the Blue Devils to a 76-64 win Wednesday.

The Blue Devils are ranked No. 8 in the country by The Associated Press on the strength of defeating Kentucky on Nov. 9 and Gonzaga on Nov. 26.

NC State travels to play at Duke at 2 p.m. Saturday on ABC in the lone scheduled meeting between the rivals.

Duke freshman power forward Paolo Banchero, left, and guard Wendell Moore will host NC State at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Duke freshman power forward Paolo Banchero, left, and guard Wendell Moore will host NC State at 2 p.m. Saturday. (USA Today Sports Images)

Overview

Duke has emerged as arguably the top team in the ACC, but a recent Covid pause has slowed down its momentum. Games at Clemson and at Notre Dame two weeks ago were both postponed.

Duke has lost just twice this season, falling to Ohio State 71-66 on Nov. 30, and then last Saturday 76-74 vs. Miami (Fla.) on Jan. 8.

Rankings

Duke is No. 12 in the NET rankings this season, and NC State is No. 124.

ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index (BPI) has the Blue Devils currently ranked No. 12 overall, and NC State is No. 106.

KenPom.com has Duke at No. 11, and NCSU checks in at No. 104.

RealtimeRPI.com has NC State ranked No. 158 in the country, and Duke is No. 7.

Shooting

Duke is shooting 48.6 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from three-point land and 73.8 percent at the free-throw line.

The insertion of freshman small forward A.J. Griffin will help with stretching the defense. He’s shooting 19 of 41 on three-pointers for a team-best 46.3 percent. Six players have made at least 16 three-pointers for the Blue Devils.

Rebounding

Duke has out-rebounded opponents 38.2-to-34.7 this season. The Blue Devils also have 154 offensive rebounds with sophomore center Mark Williams grabbing a team-best 37.

Freshman power forward Paolo Banchero leads Duke at 7.3 rebounds per game, with Williams at 6.3 and junior guard Wendell Moore Jr. of Concord, N.C., adding 5.8 boards a contest.

Defense

Duke has held opponents to 41.1 percent shooting and 30.1 percent from three-point land. Williams is an elite rim protector with 3.1 blocks per game. He blocked six shots against Miami (Fla.), Gonzaga and Gardner-Webb this season.

Four players have at least 20 steals with freshman wing Trevor Keels leading the way with 26.

Depth

Duke has three key bench players off the bench in former starting sophomore point guard Jeremy Roach, senior forward Joey Baker and senior post player Theo John.

The 6-1, 172-pound Roach is averaging 8.7 points and 2.9 assists in 31.8 minutes per game this season. He’s shooting 40 percent from the field and 35.6 percent on three-pointers. Roach had 14 points against both Campbell and Army in back-to-back games Nov. 12-13.

John started for three years at Marquette before transferring to Duke. The 6-9, 242-pounder is averaging 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per game this season. The 6-6, 206-pound Baker, who attended Fayetteville (N.C.) Trinity Christian, is chipping in 6.1 points in 15.4 minutes per game, and is shooting 41.0 percent on three-pointers.

Star Watch

Duke freshman forward Paolo Banchero was the No. 2 overall player in the class of 2021, and he’s more than lived up to that lofty billing.

Banchero, whose parents both went to Washington, played for Seattle (Wash.) O’Dea and picked the Blue Devils over Tennessee, Kentucky, Washington and others.

The 6-foot-10, 250-pounder has been efficient inside and outside for Duke. He’s averaging 17.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, and is shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 34.0 percent from the three-point arc.

Banchero has scored in double-figures in every game this season and has a pair of double-doubles. He’s scored at least 20 points in six games, with a season-high 28 against The Citadel on Nov. 22. He is fresh off of scoring 24 points in the win over Wake Forest on Wednesday.

Likely Starters

NC State

PG — 5 Thomas Allen (6-1, 175, R-Sr., 4.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.3 apg)

SG — 0 Terquavion Smith (6-4, 160, Fr., 14.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.4 spg)

SF — 1 Dereon Seabron (6-7, 180, R-Soph., 19.8 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.5 spg)

PF — 4 Jericole Hellems (6-7, 200, Sr., 14.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.6 spg)

C — 21 Ebenezer Dowuona (6-11, 225, Soph., 3.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.0 apg, 2.2 bpg)

Duke

PG — 0 Wendell Moore Jr. (6-5, 213, Jr., 15.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.4 spg)

SG — 1 Trevor Keels (6-4, 221, Fr., 12.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.7 spg)

SF — 21 A.J. Griffin (6-6, 222, Fr., 8.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.9 apg)

PF — 5 Paolo Banchero (6-10, 250, Fr., 17.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.3 spg)

C — 15 Mark Williams (7-0, 242, Soph., 8.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.0 apg, 3.1 bpg)

Numbers Of Note

5.0: Assists per game for junior guard Wendell Moore Jr., which leads the ACC.

9: Games where sophomore center Mark Williams has blocked at least three shots this season.

9.1 Increase in points for freshman small forward A.J. Griffin over the last seven games. He jumped from 4.0 points per game to 13.1, and he’s shooting 62.7 percent from the field during that seven-game stretch.

Game Within The Game: Duke wing Trevor Keels vs. NC State’s Terquavion Smith

Duke freshman wing Trevor Keels might be a year younger than his grade, but he’s built like an outside linebacker in football. The 6-4, 221-pounder is averaging 12.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, and is shooting 40.9 percent from the field and 30.7 percent on three-pointers.

Rivals.com ranked the former Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI standout at No. 22 overall in the country in the class of 2021. He picked Duke over Villanova, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina, among others.

Keels has scored in double figures in all but four games this season, including 25 in the season-opener 79-71 win over Kentucky on Nov. 9. He also had 19 points in the 87-56 wi over Elon on Dec. 18.

NC State freshman wing Terquavion Smith is 61 pounds lighter than Keels, but can erupt in any game. He had one of his best games of the season with 24 points, five rebounds and six three-pointers in the 79-63 win at Louisville on Wednesday.

Smith is shooting 41.2 percent from the field and 37.4 percent on three-pointers en route to 14.4 points per game. He’s scored at least 20 points in five games.

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