NC State vs. Duke March Madness Preview and Prediction

In a No. 11 vs. No. 4 matchup in the NCAA Tournament South Region, the NC State Wolfpack face the Duke Blue Devils in Elite Eight action.

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How to Watch NC State vs. Duke

When: 5:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 31st

Where: American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX

Watch: CBS

Odds for NC State vs. Duke

(odds current at time of publish)

Spread: Duke -6.5

Total: 142

DraftKings Betting Splits | Live College Basketball Odds | NC State vs. Duke Matchup

South Region No. 11 NC State

NC State shocked the world in winning the ACC tournament, beating Duke in the quarterfinals and North Carolina in the championship game. The Wolfpack are a tricky team to play against, as DJ Burns Jr. is a massive body that throws his weight around near the rim. And DJ Horne is an explosive scorer at the guard position, while Mohamed Diarra is a physical big that does the dirty work. Overall, there’s no denying that NC State has some talent, and Kevin Keatts is a smart head coach. So, you can’t rule out the possibility of the Wolfpack continuing to win games. NC State has also backed the ACC tournament title up with wins over Texas Tech, Oakland and Marquette.

South Region No. 4 Duke Blue Devils

Duke was a borderline elite team for most of the regular season, posting outstanding numbers when it comes to points per possession on offense and very good marks on defense. The Blue Devils have a remarkable big man in Kyle Filipowski, who is capable of beating defenses in a number of different ways. And Duke can match anybody when it comes to guard play, as Jared McCain, Tyrese Proctor and Jeremy Roach make up a legitimate three-headed monster in the backcourt. So, this team is as dangerous as any in the tournament when it comes to raw talent. Jon Scheyer just has to push the right buttons, which is something he has never done before. But Duke has played well in the tournament thus far, and a win over Houston last round was massive.

NC State vs. Duke Preview & Prediction

While NC State’s run over the last few weeks has been incredible, the Wolfpack probably don’t feel good about getting the Blue Devils in the Elite Eight. NC State did beat Duke 74-69 in the ACC Tournament, but the Blue Devils had earned a 15-point road win over the Wolfpack just 10 days earlier. And it’s going to be very difficult for NC State to beat Duke twice in a span of two weeks.

This season, Duke is eighth in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency and 22nd in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to Bart Torvik. Meanwhile, NC State is 38th in offense and 74th in defense. That’s a significant win for the Blue Devils on both ends of the floor. And even if you just count from March 12th to now, beginning with when the Wolfpack’s ACC Tournament run began, Duke is statistically the better team on both ends of the floor. And the reality is that nobody should be throwing away what we saw in the regular season anyway.

Not only does Duke have the better statistical profile between these two, but the team has a pretty significant advantage in the talent department. The Blue Devils have three guys that will be drafted to the NBA eventually, with Kyle Filipowski, Jared McCain and Tyrese Proctor all being excellent. And Duke also has a dynamic shooter and big-time leader in Jeremy Roach. NC State’s backcourt of DJ Horne and Casey Morsell is obviously pretty good, but keeping up with Duke’s trio will be tough. The Blue Devils got nothing out of those guards in the ACC Tournament matchup. But these guys are confident after having beaten one of the best teams in college basketball. And Jon Scheyer should be able to make adjustments to make his guys more comfortable in Dallas.

The Wolfpack will probably try to establish DJ Burns Jr. in this game, as he has a lot of weight on Filipowski. But Burns was just 4 for 11 from the floor against Duke in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. And the Blue Devils can send help at Burns knowing that the Wolfpack don’t have the firepower from 3 to make them pay. NC State did hit more 3s than Duke last game, going 7 for 16 from deep while the Blue Devils shot 5 for 20. But the Wolfpack shot just 34.8% from 3 this season, which was good for 133rd in the country. And the team was 275th in the nation in 3-point rate. Look for the battle from 3-point land to swing significantly back in Duke’s favor. The Blue Devils are shooting 38.1% from deep this season, which is the 12th-highest mark in the country.

You also have to wonder whether or not fatigue will hit NC State here. The Wolfpack have been working harder than ever to improve upon a defense that was miserable for most of the regular season. And NC State went into this tournament after having played a lot of basketball in a short period of time. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wolfpack hang around in the first half and then lose some steam in the second half.

It should also be noted that Duke was an 11-point favorite when the teams met in the ACC Tournament two weeks ago. Is this 4.5-point swing on the spread an overreaction?

Estimated Score: Duke 73.4 – NC State 69.6

For expert predictions, go to our college basketball best bets page.