Game Day: Duke (12-1) vs. NC State (9-2)

Duke returns home to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face to NC State Wolfpack on Thursday, opening the home portion of the ACC schedule. Both NC State and Duke sit at 2-0 in the conference, meaning the winner will occupy the top spot in the standings. <I>TheDevilsDen.com</I> takes a moment to run down the match-up.

Game Facts:

The game will be televised by RJ Sports with Bob Rathbun (play-by-play) and Billy Packer (color) calling the action. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 PM EST from Cameron Indoor Satdium.

LINK: TDD BBS Official Game Thread

The Series:

Overall                     Duke 127-94
At Cameron Indoor Stadium    Duke 41-23
At RBC Center                  Duke 3-1
In ACC Tournament             Duke 13-8
Current Streak                 Duke W 2
Longest Duke Win Streak    15 (1941-47)
Longest State Win Streak    9 (1973-76)
Biggest Duke Win        99-60 (1/28/67)
Biggest N.C. State Win  70-37 (2/18/48)
Duke Under Coach K                36-17

Notable:

*- Duke will be looking for a 10th consecutive victory, after losing to Purdue in the finals of the Great Alaska Shootout in November. The previous nine contests have yielded a 27.3 point margin of victory.

*- The Blue Devils have won an amazing 64 of the last 73 games against teams hailing from North Carolina. Duke has won the last two against NC State, including the championship game of last year's ACC Tournament. In that game the Devils rallied from a 15 point second half deficit behind a tremendous performance from J.J. Redick who knocked in a game high 30 points in the 84-77 victory.

*- Head coach Mike Krzyzewski will be looking for career win number 676, earning him sole possession of 17th place on the all-time list. Currently Coach K is tied with Denny Crum at 675. Duke will also be looking to win a 300th game at Cameron under Krzyzewski. Under Coach K's tenure the Blue Devils are 299-46 at home.

*- The Blue Devils have won 34 consecutive home games, good for second in the nation. The longest streak in ACC history was achieved by the Devils from 1997-2000 when 46 straight opponents fell in Cameron. The Blue Devils have also beaten 51 of the last 56 ACC opponents at home.

*- Duke has posted a 97-17 ACC record over the last eight seasons, while winning a record five consecutive ACC Tournament titles and 15 straight tournament games.

Meet the Wolfpack:

The NC State game plan starts with preseason All-ACC selection Julius Hodge (18.9 points, 7.4 rebounds), who has lived up to the early hype by putting up player of the year type numbers for head coach Herb Sendek.

Hodge has spent most of the time as a type of point-forward this year, handing out a career high 4.5 assists per game. He's also improved his shooting (55% from the field and 40% from the perimeter).

Aside from Hodge the Pack are still awaiting a breakout performance from Illian Evtimov, who returned after missing all of last season with a torn ACL in a preseason game. So far he's knocking down just over seven points per game, but has the reputation as a streak shooter who can be deadly when hot.

NC State has also gotten big performances out of Levi Watkins, who has scored 10 points per game so far this year while hitting 41% from behind the three point arc.

One thing this version of the Pack lacks is a traditional post player, which has meant forward Marcus Melvin has been inserted into the paint, though he prefers to shoot from the perimeter instead of battling inside. Last season against Duke at State, Melvin was killer from the perimeter, though he's struggled this year - making just over 25% of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Luckily for Melvin, sophomore big man Jordan Collins has returned from academic ineligibility to give Sendek another viable big body. Other players of note include sophomore wing Cameron Bennerman, and freshman Engin Astur.


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