For those who don’t get that joke, see Jon Scheyer tonight around 9 o’clock and 30 seconds. It will be really clear. Might not be any funnier, but it will most certainly be clear.
The more I’ve perused message boards and other blogs the last couple of days regarding the Duke game, the more optimism I seem to find. I don’t quite understand how to comprehend optimism coming from NC State fans, so it’s been quite weird. Not saying I disagree with those who are optimistic, it’s just out of the ordinary for optimism to drown out those hanging over the cliff by one broken, bleeding finger nail.
NC State’s game with Duke tonight is big for both teams, but for the Wolfpack it could potentially serve as a turning point in the season. A win over the No. 6 Blue Devils — aside from producing a party at center court — would help State’s confidence way more than it would help the Pack’s place in the ACC standings. And when a team’s six losses are by an average of 5.5 points, it needs all the confidence it can get.
Looking at Duke, it’s not hard to see how the Blue Devils have started 15-2 and 3-1 in conference play. As usual, Duke wants to play great defense and so far this season is only allowing 61 points per game while scoring more than 84. If NC State doesn’t take good care of the basketball and get good shots tonight, it could get ugly because Duke is not usually a team (like Clemson) who has long offensive droughts.
The most interesting storyline on the NC State side of things, at least IMO, is the potential to see major changes in the starting lineup. With the solid play of Julius Mays and Richard Howell recently, I would not be surprised if Dennis Horner and Javi Gonzalez find themselves coming off the bench. That doesn’t mean those two won’t see a lot of minutes, as Sidney Lowe pledges to get minutes to the players who play well on any given night. Some may argue that hurts rhythm, but doesn’t it make more sense to have “hot” players on the court as opposed to having some sort of consistent substitution pattern?
Here’s NC State’s three keys for tonight:
- Limit Jon Scheyer’s play-making ability
- Get Tracy Smith involved early
- Crash the defensive glass
Get ready for some links for tonight’s game. This is all pretty good stuff.
- Here’s ESPN.com’s preview of tonight’s game. It’s pretty Duke-centric, but has good info in it.
- Sidney Lowe made an appearance on 99.9 The Fan with Mike Maniscalco. Listen here.
- The N&O just launched a new site devoted to covering the Big Four Rivals. It’s pretty exclusive to Duke and UNC, but here’s a small preview of tonight’s game from Ken Tysiac.
- Backing the Pack (as usual) has a great preview focusing on stats.
- Here’s some love fest stuff on Scott Wood from Technician.
And last but not least, watch Sidney’s thoughts on whether or not Carolina players “brag.”
Found this picture, couldn’t resist.