North Carolina State needs win against No. 6 Duke to get back on bubble

Duke basketball (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) /

The North Carolina State Wolfpack host the Duke basketball team on Wednesday night and the Wolfpack need a victory to get back on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

It hasn’t been the best of weeks for Kevin Keatts and the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

Already an NCAA Tournament bubble team, the Wolfpack have dropped four of their last six games, including matchups with Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Louisville, and Boston College.

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Three of those teams certainly aren’t lighting the world on fire as the loss to Carolina came when the Heels did not have Cole Anthony, but that might be a good thing since the Heels have not won a game since his return from injury.

However, NC State (16-9, 7-7 ACC) has a massive opportunity in front of it this week with two home games against No. 6 Duke and No. 8 Florida State to catapult itself back into the NCAA Tournament.

The Wolfpack have won four of the last six home games against Duke and need nothing more than a season-defining victory on Wednesday night.

Kevin Keatts has leaned on a ‘Big Three’ of C.J. Bryce, Markell Johnson, and DJ Funderburk as the trio combines to average 38.8 of NC State’s 74.3 points per game.

Bryce leads the way with 14.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while Johnson averages 12.5 points and a team-high 6.5 assists per game.

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The 6-foot-10 junior in the paint, Funderburk, averages 12.2 points per game, but Duke cannot forget about lethal guard Devon Daniels, who averages 12.1 points per game on 46.3 percent shooting from the field.

As a team, North Carolina State won’t burn a team from 3-point range, just shooting 31.7 percent, but the Wolfpack do shoot 44.7 percent from the floor and 70.5 percent from the free throw line.

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Duke and NC State will tipoff at 9:00pm EST from the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., and fans can view the game on ESPN.