Previewing NC State (14-2, 3-1)

One of the downsides of ACC expansion has been the loss of the home and home series with North Carolina State. Last year the Wolfpack and Blue Devils did meet twice, with Duke winning in Raleigh and then in the ACC Tournament. TDD previews this year's match up in Cameron.


1/1 Duke (16-0, 4-0) vs. 14/14 NC State (14-2, 3-1)
Durham, N.C. – Cameron Indoor Stadium
7:00 p.m., ESPN

Program Vitals
Nickname: Wolfpack
Colors: Red & White
Head Coach: Herb Sendek
Career Record at NC State: 246-149
Last Year: 21-14 (7-9 ACC); NCAA Sweet 16

Projected Starters:
22 Tony Bethel (6-1, 185, Sr.) – 8.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.7 apg
14 Engin Atsur (6-4, 200, Jr.) – 11.8 ppg, 4.5 apg, 48% 3pt
13 Cameron Bennerman (6-4, 205, Sr.) – 11.8 ppg
 3 Illian Evtimov (6-8, 222, Sr.) – 11.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg
33 Cedric Simmons (6-9, 233, So.) - 12.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg

Key Reserves:
40 Andrew Brackman (6-10, 235, So.) – 9.9 ppg, 4.7
11 Gavin Grant (6-7, 212, So.) – 7.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg
34 Ben McCauley (6-9, 235, Fr.) – 3.0 ppg
 4 Courtney Fells (6-5, 194, Fr.) – 1.8 ppg

Storylines:

Outside In: Few teams are as capable of blowing an opponent out of the water from behind the arc as the Wolfpack. Three players enter Wednesday's contest with Duke shooting better than 41 percent from the perimeter led by Tony Bethel's .492 mark. Not far behind are Astur (.476) and Etimov at (.415). Even the post players have shown the ability to knock down shots from outside, with Brackman shooting a respectable .345.

Big Men On Tap For Sendek While he's got a number of outside marksmen on the roster, Coach Sendek also has the luxury of a true post presence in the form of sophomore Cedric Simmons and reserve Andrew Brackman. Simmons currently leads the team in scoring (12.2) and rebounds (6.9) while shooting a sizzling .644 from the field. For good measure he's also blocking nearly three shots per night. Meanwhile Brackman, who showed signs of an aggressive nature a year ago, has provided nearly 10 points and five rebounds in relief or alongside of Simmons.

Last Year: Duke and N.C. State met just once during the regular season in 2004-2005, with the Blue Devils coming away with an 86-74 triumph in Raleigh on Jan. 13, 2005. Shelden Williams had a game-high 22 points for the Blue Devils and Daniel Ewing added 17. It was the only game of the season that J.J. Redick was held under 10 points (he attempted a season-low five shots). Redick did register a career-best seven rebounds in that game.

The teams met again in the ACC Tournament semifinals in Washington, D.C. On that afternoon, Redick once again haunted the Wolfpack, scoring a Duke ACC Tournament record 35 points including 7-of-12 from the perimeter as Duke rallied from an eight point second half deficit to win 76-69 and advance to the title game. Shelden Williams added 15 points and nine rebounds.

Duke leads the all-time series vs. the Wolfpack, 130-95, including a 39-18 record under Mike Krzyzewski.

Typical OOC Scheduling For State: As has been his custom over the last few years, Coach Sendek loaded up on winnable games throughout the early portion of the season. However, he did add in a few solid opponents prior to entering ACC play, beating Notre Dame, Alabama, George Washington away from conference play, while losing to Iowa in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. The rest of the schedule consisted of wins over programs like Appalachian State, UNC-Asheville, VMI, Stetson, New Hampshire, and The Citadel.

That kind of early season schedule probably had the Wolfpack playing without the kind of focus that is needed night in and night out in ACC play as the Pack were handled by a young North Carolina team (82-69) in Chapel Hill in just their second ACC game. However, State bounced back in a big way by thumping Boston College (78-60) and Georgia Tech (87-78) in the next two games to improve to 3-1, just a game behind the Blue Devils. With the Eagles floundering, the Wolfpack have a chance to stake a claim to the inside track for a conference regular season title with a win over the Blue Devils.

Duke Notes:

- J.J. Redick scored 34 points against Clemson to record his 12th career 30 point game, including his sixth of 2005-06. Redick's 12 career 30-point games is tied with Dick Groat for the third most in school history while his six in 2005-06 ranks seventh most in a season in Duke history.

- Redick now has 2,227 career points and remains in fourth place on the Duke career chart while on the ACC Chart he moved out of a tie with Georgia Tech's Mark Price (2,193) and past Wake Forest's Randolph Childress (2,208), Georgia Tech's Matt Harpring (2,225) and into 13th place on the all-time chart. Immediately ahead on the ACC Chart is Virginia's Ralph Sampson (2,228) while Mike Gminski is next on the Duke chart and sixth in ACC history with 2,323 points.

- Shelden Williams scored 17 points, recorded 11 rebounds, three blocks and a steal. He shot 6-of-12 from the field and 5-of-6 from the line. It was his 46th career double-double and eighth of 2005-06. Both those totals are ACC-bests. Williams has six double-doubles in the past seven games. Williams is now tied with Art Heyman for the fourth most double-doubles in Duke history.

- Freshman Greg Paulus scored 10 points, dished out eight assists, grabbed four rebounds and had two steals against Clemson. Paulus hit all four of his free throws and played 38 minutes. His eight assists marks ties the second-most of the season for Paulus while he reached double-figures in points for the third straight game and fifth time this season. Paulus is now 32-of-36 from the line this season for a .889 percentage.

- Duke improved to 16-0 for just the third time in school history. Duke's 1992 National Championship team started the season 17-0 while the 1986 Final Four team won its first 16 games of the season. Under Coach K, Duke is 160-19 as the No. 1 team in the country and the 179 games played as the No. 1 team is second all-time to John Wooden's 228.


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