Thursday , Mar , 08 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Wolfpack hunt Blue Devils in Tampa

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) – The 21st-ranked Duke Blue Devils managed just
the seventh seed in the 2007 ACC Tournament, and they will face 10th-
seeded NC State in the opening round. Awaiting the winner of this
showdown is a quarterfinal matchup with second-seeded Virginia.

NC State has won 10 ACC titles, the third-highest total of all current
league members, but it has been 20 years since the program last captured
the crown. The Wolfpack lost three of their final four regular season
games, including a 20-point setback to Maryland in the finale.

Duke has won more ACC Tournament titles (16) than any other team in the
conference, and it owns a stellar 80-37 record at this event. Last
season, the Blue Devils defeated Boston College by two points in the
championship game, and they have won two straight titles and seven of
the last eight. Duke finished a disappointing 8-8 against league
opponents this year, and the team carries a two-game skid into this
tournament.

The Blue Devils crushed NC State by a 79-56 final in the only regular
season meeting, and they own a 132-95 series advantage over the
Wolfpack.

NC State has five double-digit scorers in the lineup, but those five
players account for all but 9.2 ppg of the team’s 71.2 ppg. Clearly, the lack
of depth has been one of the biggest problems for the Wolfpack, as their
15-14 overall record is overshadowed by a 5-11 league mark. Brandon Costner
is scoring 16.3 ppg to go along with 7.5 rpg, and Gavin Grant checks in with
an even 15.0 ppg. Ben McCauley is close behind with 14.9 ppg, and he is
ripping down 6.6 rpg. Engin Atsur and Courtney Fells are scoring 11.1 ppg
apiece to round out the group. NC State ranks 11th in the ACC in scoring
offense and 10th in scoring defense (71.8 ppg), so it isn’t surprising that
the club is seeded 10th in this tournament. The Wolfpack are last in
rebounding margin and last in offensive rebounds.

Most years, Duke possesses at least one star caliber player who routinely
takes over games at the offensive end. This year’s group of Blue Devils are
lacking that type of standout, although there are a bunch of solid
performers in the lineup. DeMarcus Nelson is a steady guard who paces the
team with 14.2 ppg, while versatile forward Josh McRoberts is posting 12.6
ppg and 7.8 rpg to go along with 108 assists and 77 blocked shots. Jon
Scheyer is netting 12.3 ppg, and Greg Paulus adds 11.2 ppg. Duke is
scoring 69.9 ppg this season while limiting foes to 60.7 ppg, as they are
last in the league in scoring offense and first in scoring defense. The
Blue Devils are shooting 38.3 percent from three-point range while limiting
opponents to 30.4 percent efficiency from behind the arc.

DUKE NCSTATE