DUKE BLUE DEVILS (15-0)
at NORTH CAROLINA STATE WOLFPACK (13-2)
PNC Arena – Raleigh, NC
Tip-off: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET
Line: Duke -2.5, Total: 149
Without senior forward Ryan Kelly (foot), No. 1 Duke will look to stay undefeated Saturday as they visit the ACC’s second best team, No. 20 North Carolina State.
The question is in this game if Duke can replace Kelly (13.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG) who had been carrying the team offensively in the team’s past few games, averaging 17.3 PPG over the past three contests. Last season, Kelly was injured in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments, a span in which Duke went 1-2 SU, notably losing to Lehigh in the Round of 64 in the Big Dance. The Wolfpack haven't lost since November, going 9-0 SU (4-3-1 ATS)
Will Duke finally suffer its first loss of the season on Saturday? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts have a collective 11-6 ATS (65%) mark in the past three days, boosting them to 53% ATS (211-190-8) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who sits at 60% ATS (50-34) for the season, while Dave is at 54.2% ATS (78-66-3) on the year. StatFox Scott is 51% ATS for the season, after going 4-1 ATS since Monday.
The one man who might have to step up in Kelly’s absence is National Player of the Year candidate PF Mason Plumlee (17.7 PPG, 11.4 RPG), who is already in the middle of a great season. Although he has struggled a bit lately (10.3 PPG last three games) he has the potential to be a beast on the boards, which will be crucial against the talented Wolfpack frontcourt. SG Seth Curry (16.0 PPG) has been tremendous this season despite dealing with a nagging foot injury. Curry has had incredible nights and off nights all season. In his past four games, he has eight-point and six-point efforts, but also 22 points and a 31-point outburst. Freshman SG Rasheed Sulaimon (11.2 PPG) joins him on the wing, while PG Quinn Cook (11.4 PPG, 6.1 APG) is coming off a career-high 27 points.
NC State has a talented and veteran frontcourt that will look to exploit the absence of Kelly. C.J. Leslie (15.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG) leads the team in scoring while his partner in crime Richard Howell (12.7 PPG, 9.9 RPG) is averaging nearly a double-double. Overall, this team scores a ton, averaging 81.3 PPG (8th in Division I) with six double-digit scorers. Lorenzo Brown (13.1 PPG, 6.7 APG) is one of the top point guards in the ACC and is coming off a phenomenal performance against Georgia Tech, recording 21 points and 10 assists. Freshman G Rodney Purvis (10.0 PPG) has been heating up lately with 32 points (11-of-18 FG) over his past two contests, while fellow first-year player T.J. Warren (12.5 PPG) has cooled down after a sizzling start, though he’s still making an incredible 67.5% of his shots. And then there’s the reliable senior sharp-shooter Scott Wood (12.1 PPG), who is hitting 2.6 threes per game on a healthy 43.3% clip.