NOTEBOOK: Pack, Devils Battle Tonight

After two straight road conference games, NC State returns to home action tonight, as the Wolfpack plays host to No. 4 Duke at 7 p.m. In the lone meeting last season, NC State downed No. 8 Duke at the RBC Center, 88-74.

NOTING THE PACK
• NC State has won three of the last six games against Duke at the RBC Center, including a win over No. 8 Duke last year.

• Under Sidney Lowe, NC State is 5-7 at home against ranked teams, including a mark of 3-4 at home against top-10 foes.

• C.J. Leslie is tied for the conference lead in being named ACC Rookie of the Week three times. Ryan Harrow was also named once.

• In ACC play, Leslie is averaging 14.7 points and 8.0 rebounds. He is the only ACC freshman to rank in the top-20 in scoring in conference only stats, and is also the top freshman rebounder in ACC games.

• Since returning from knee surgery, Tracy Smith has averaged 18.2 points, on 60.3 percent (38-63) shooting, in 30.4 minutes.

• Since coming back from the holiday break, NC State has shot 50.4 percent from the floor while limiting its opponents to 40.0 per- cent in the five games.

• NC State currently ranks fourth in the ACC in rebounding margin at +4.7. Last season the Pack was last in the conference at -0.6.

• NC State ranks third in the ACC in three- point field goal percentage defense (.316).

• Freshman Ryan Harrow is second on the team in scoring (11.2), despite starting only one game this season.

• Harrow currently leads the ACC in free throw percentage, hitting 93.0 percent (53-57). He has hit 29 of his last 30 attempts

• Scott Wood currently leads the ACC in three-pointers per game (2.7), and is fourth in three-point percentage (.430).

• NC State currently has five players averaging at least 9.5 points, Smith with 15.0 and the next four scorers between 11.2 and 9.5.

• NC State has only 10 scholarship players, with seven being freshmen or sophomores.

NC State Hosts Duke
After two straight road conference games, NC State returns to home action tonight, as the Wolfpack plays host to No. 4 Duke at 7 p.m. In the lone meeting last season, NC State downed No. 8 Duke at the RBC Center, 88-74.

The Wolfpack (11-6, 1-2) started ACC play with a 90-69 home win over Wake Forest, but then dropped back-to-back road games at Boston College and at Florida State last week. The Blue Devils (16-1, 3-1 ACC) suffered their first loss of the season at Florida State last week, 66-61, but came back to down Virginia at home on Saturday, 76-60.

This game will be televised on ESPN with Mike Patrick (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst), and Jeannine Edwards (sideline).

The Series Versus Duke
Wedneday's matchup will be the 233rd meeting between NC State and Duke, with the Blue Devils holding a 135-97 lead in the series. The series is the second- longest in Wolfpack history, dating back to the 1911-12 season. This will be the first of two regular season games between the teams, as NC State and Duke will be playing twice for only the second time in the last seven seasons.

Duke holds a 68-56 lead in games played in Raleigh, including a 6-3 edge in games at the RBC Center. NC State has won three of the last six matchups with the Blue Devils in Raleigh, first winning 80-71 against third-ranked Duke in 2003, and then knocking off the Blue Devils, 78-74, when they were ranked No. 1 in 2004. Last season, NC State won again, beating No. 8 Duke, 88-74.

Duke has won 28 of the last 33 games played in the series dating back to the 1995 ACC Tournament. Besides the three wins in Raleigh, NC State's other two wins during that time frame were both in the ACC Tournament. In Sidney Lowe's first season, the 10th-seeded Pack knocked out seventh-seed Duke, 85-80 in overtime in the first round, and in 1997 NC

State posted a 66-60 victory over the top-seeded Blue Devils in the quarterfinals. Lowe posts a 2-4 all-time against Duke.

Lowe Against Ranked Foes
In Sidney Lowe's five seasons, the Pack has posted a record of 9-21 against all ranked foes: NC State is 5-7 at home, 2-13 away, and 2-1 on a neutral court. The Pack is also 3-4 at home against top-10 foes.

Last season, NC State fared well against ranked opponents, posting a 3-2 record in such games. The Pack pulled off wins at No. 25 Florida State and at home against No. 7 Duke and No. 23 Wake Forest (by a combined 35 points), and its two losses (No. 24 Clemson and No. 21 Georgia Tech) were by a combined five points.

Pack Playing Ranked Duke
Playing a ranked Duke foe is not an uncommon feat for NC State, as tonight's meeting will be the 75th time NC State has faced a top-10 Duke squad. The Pack is 17-57 against Duke in those previous games, including a win over No. 8 Duke last season at the RBC Center.

Last Season Versus Duke
NC State won the lone matchup last season. <>P On his 22nd birthday Tracy Smith went 10-of-12 from the field for a game-high 23 points and Dennis Horner added 20 points, as NC State knocked off its second ranked foe in eight days downing No. 7 Duke, 88-74, at the RBC Center on January 20. NC State captured the lead at 14-13 eight minutes into the game, and never trailed, building its lead to as many as 17 in the second half. NC State went up 41-38 at the half, but opened the second half on a 10-3 spurt. The Pack shot 58.2 percent for the game, including 64.0 percent in the first half, and only committed nine turnovers. NC State had all five starters in double figures, Javier Gonzalez (15), Farnold Degand (11), Scott Wood (10).

Last Time Out for NC State
After coming out of halftime with a 28-19 lead, Florida State hit its first eight field goal attempts of the second half, and 13 of its first 15, and pulled away from NC State for the 84-71 win in Tallahassee on Saturday. The Seminoles shot 69.2 per- cent (18-26) in the second half, and built their lead to as many as 22 points before the Pack ended the game on a 14-5 run. NC State shot 26.7 percent (8-30) in the first half, scoring just 19 points. Tracy Smith had a team-high 19 points, and freshman Ryan Harrow made his first career start and finished with 17 points, including 8-of-8 from the free throw line.

NC State to Hold 100 Year Reunion on Sunday
In celebration of 100 years of NC State men's basketball, over 85 former players, coaches and managers will come back to the RBC Center for Sunday's contest against Miami. Those in attendance will attend a pregame brunch and reunion event. Then at half- time, they will be honored and a retrospective video will be shown both at halftime and during media timeouts to continue the Pack's centennial celebrations.

Smith Returns
Senior Tracy Smith missed 10 games after undergoing knee surgery in mid-November, but finally made his return in the win over San Diego on January 1. In his five games back from injury, Smith has averaged 18.2 points, and shot 60.3 percent (38-63) in 30.4 minutes.

In his first game back against San Diego, Smith started on the bench, and checked into the contest at the 15:10 mark. On his very first touch, Smith converted his first field goal attempt in nearly six weeks. He finished the contest with a game-high 16 points (7-of-12 shooting) and played 25 minutes.

Smith then returned to the starting lineup at Elon on January 5, and scored 15 points, with nine coming in the second half after the Pack was down at the break. In the ACC opener against Wake Forest, Smith recorded his first double-double of the season, 23 points and 11 rebounds. The 23 points matched an ACC-best for Smith.

In conference games, Smith is averaging 20.0 points, the fourth-best mark in the ACC.

After playing only six minutes against East Carolina in the Charleston Classic on Nov. 18, Smith returned to Raleigh to get an evaluation on his knee. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Nov. 19. The joint was debrided and no major damage was found. He played a total of just 34 minutes in the first two games of the season before missing nearly six weeks of action.

Cleaning the Glass
Last season, NC State finished last in the ACC in rebounding mar- gin at -0.6 per game. Things have changed this season, as the Pack currently ranks fourth in the conference, out-rebounding the opposition 4.7 boards a game.

NC State has outrebounded its opponent in 10 of the last 11 games. Before being out-rebounded by one at Boston Col- lege, NC State had out-rebounded its op- ponents in nine straight games, its longest streak of such games since 11 straight to start the 1998-99 season.

NC State is one of only two ACC schools that currently has a pair of players ranked in the top-12 in the conference standings in rebounding (North Carolina). C.J. Leslie is sixth in the ACC, pulling down 8.0 rebounds a game, while Richard Howell currently ranks 12th with 6.8 boards an outing.

Hot After the Break
Coming back from a short holiday break, NC State's shooting has been impressive in the six games. NC State has shot over 50.0 percent in four of those six contests. In those six games overall, the Pack shot 50.4 percent (177-351) from the floor, while holding its opponents to 40.0 percent (143-357).

Turnover Trouble
NC State has not won the turnover battle in nine straight games, as the Pack has committed more turnovers than eight of its last nine opponents and tying with one other. The Pack has not gone this many games without winning the turn- over battle since the beginning of the 2007- 08 season, when NC State also had nine straight such games.

Despite not coming out ahead on turnovers in the last nine games, NC State posted a 6-3 record in those contests.


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