WASHINGTON, Sporting Alert – Duke heads into Wednesday’s ACC Tournament second round clash with NC State looking to get back to winning ways, as the real work to repeat as national champion begins.
The No. 19 nationally ranked Blue Devils (22-9) were beaten by North Carolina in their last regular season fixture this past weekend and are desperate to avoid another setback while being ranked this season.
NC State (16-16) setup this ACC Tournament second round clash with Duke after defeating Wake Forest 75-72 on Tuesday in the opening game.
Maverick Rowan, who finished with 24 points, made a career-best six 3-pointers and Anthony “Cat” Barber added 22 points for the 12th-seeded Wolfpack, who are determined to go far in this year’s tourney.
Duke, which is seeded fifth in this year’s conference tournament, will be looking for its third successive win over NC State this season, after winning the two regular season battles.
Grayson Allen, who is averaging 21.5 points per game this season and shooting 47.5 percent, is averaging 28 points, 5.5 assists and 4 rebounds per game against the Wolfpack this campaign.
Barber is NC State and the ACC leading scorer this season, at 23.3 points per contest, and he is averaging 22.5 points per game against the Blue Devils this term.
These two teams met at the quarterfinals stage of the tournament in 2014 with Duke eliminating their rivals 75-67.
Both Allen and Barber are expected to score big on Wednesday, so the deciding factor could come down the team with the better supporting cast.
Another ACC Tournament second round matchup to watch closely on Wednesday is the clash between Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
Both teams are hoping to go deep into this tournament to give themselves a chance of making the NCAA Tournament this year.
The eighth-seeded Panthers (20-10) and ninth-seeded Orange (19-12) split their two previous meetings this term and they will be hoping their respective leading contributors can come up big in this important tie breaker.
Game time for this battle will be at 12 pm and live on ESPN and WatchESPN.
Elsewhere on Wednesday night, in the ACC Tournament second round, Florida State and Virginia Tech will tip-off at 9:30 pm.
Live ESPN, ESPN3 and WatchESPN Basketball
Wednesday, March 9
Syracuse vs Pittsburgh 12:00 PM ESPN, WatchESPN
NC State vs #19 Duke 2:30 PM ESPN, WatchESPN
Minnesota vs Illinois 4:30 PM ESPN2, WatchESPN
New Orleans vs Southeastern Louisiana 6:00 PM ESPN3, WatchESPN
Morgan State vs Hampton 6:00 PM ESPN3, WatchESPN
Georgia Tech vs Clemson 7:00 PM ESPN2, WatchESPN
Florida State vs Virginia Tech 9:30 PM ESPN2, WatchESPN