Duke Basketball: Three Ways Kevin Keatts Impacts Duke-NCSU Rivalry

DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 23: The Cameron Crazies taunt Maverick Rowan
DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 23: The Cameron Crazies taunt Maverick Rowan /

Duke Basketball will face off against NC State for their only game this season. Once a historic rivalry, here are three ways that new Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts is already putting his stamp on the storied matchup.

The Blue Devils will face off against one of their top rivals this weekend. Duke-UNC is regarded as one of the best rivalries in all of sports. The Blue Devils have had great matchups against Wake Forest in the past too. However, Duke and NC State was also once a great rivalry that has been recently overlooked. Can new Wolfpack head coach return the rivalry to it’s former glory?

The state of North Carolina has four teams competing in the ACC. With conference expansion, scheduling for the old “Big Four” rivalries has been difficult. This problem also exists in football, where left out matchup is Duke-NC State. For men’s basketball, the Blue Devils and Wolfpack had a great rivalry in the past possibly even better than Duke-UNC.

NC State has been Duke’s most played opponent in the history of the program, with Saturday’s meeting being the 247th game between the schools. However, that will finally be broken this season with Wake Forest (246) and North Carolina (245) set tie or surpass the Wolfpack this year. Future scheduling will also make it so the Tar Heels and Demon Deacons pull ahead going forward.

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Duke leads the all-time series with NCSU 146-100. In their last matchup, NC State upset the Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor Stadium behind a dominant performance by Dennis Smith, Jr. NC State is currently 12-4 and 1-2 in ACC play under first-year head coach Kevin Keatts. Here are three ways that Keatts has already made an impact on the historic rivalry:

1. He has a history against Duke

Kevin Keatts has previous experience coaching against the Blue Devils. In the 2013, he was an assistant for Louisville when they defeated Duke in the Elite 8 en route to the national title. Keatts left the Cardinals right before they joined the ACC to take over at UNCW. The Blue Devils defeated the Keatts-led Seahawks in a tight matchup in the First Round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

2. His coaching philosophy will test Duke

In 2017, Keatts nearly had an NCAA Tournament upset over another ACC team. After Virginia recorded a tight win over the Seahawks last year, head coach Tony Bennett remarkedThere’s not a team in the ACC like that“. Kevin Keatts plans to implement his aggressive and fast-paced system at NC State. This up-tempo style will be a great test on both ends of the floor for Duke and Coach K.

3. He’s already trash-talked the Blue Devils

Ahead of a matchup against Arizona in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, Keatts commented that he believed the Wildcats were the top team in the country even though Duke was ranked number one. The Wolfpack went on to upset Arizona, who then lost three straight games and drop out of the Top 25.

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Kevin Keatts is a very talented coach and was a heralded hire for NC State. Duke Basketball will take on the Wolfpack tomorrow at 8:00 pm on ESPN. The Blue Devils are in search of their first ACC win on the road after losing at Boston College in their conference opener.