Duke has finished yet another season undefeated at home against non-conference teams. The Blue Devils should have a good chance to continue their success at Cameron Indoor Stadium as they return to ACC play.
After withstanding their toughest home test of the season, the second-ranked Blue Devils look to continue their dominance of North Carolina State when the conference rivals meet Tuesday night.
Duke (16-1, 3-0) received four first-place votes in this week’s AP poll and moved up one spot in the rankings after beating then-No. 13 Georgetown 76-67 on Saturday. It was the first ranked opponent of the season for the Blue Devils at home, where they’ve won a Division I-best 68 consecutive non-conference games.
“It’s our court, and I don’t want to have anybody come in here and push us around,” Duke guard Greg Paulus said.
Duke will now turn its focus back to the ACC as it hosts two of the league’s less formidable teams. After facing N.C. State (10-5, 1-2), the Blue Devils will take on Maryland (12-5, 1-2) on Saturday.
Duke has won 10 straight at home versus N.C. State since a 66-60 defeat March 7, 1997, outscoring the Wolfpack by an average of 18.2 points during that span. N.C. State was ranked in two of those games.
At Cameron this season, the Blue Devils are defeating opponents by an average margin of 25.0 points. In its only home game in conference play, Duke beat Virginia Tech 69-44 on Jan. 4.
Duke forward Kyle Singler recorded 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in that contest, and is averaging 17.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in three ACC games.
Singler had 15 points and 16 rebounds versus the Hoyas. He’s one of four Blue Devils averaging double digits in scoring at 16.8 points.
Duke continues to play its trademark tough defense, limiting opponents to 60.6 points per game and 39.5 percent shooting while forcing 17.4 turnovers a contest.
“It’s something you have to deal with and it’s a challenge for everyone that they play,” Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe told the team’s official Web site. “It’s not what they do, it’s how hard that they do it. There are other teams that try to do it, but these guys play hard. … I think it’s going to be a good game, but you have to match their aggressiveness and their toughness.”
N.C. State had lost three straight before beating Georgia Tech 76-71 in overtime Saturday in a matchup of the only winless teams in the ACC. Wolfpack reserve forward Dennis Horner scored six of his eight points in the final 90 seconds of OT.
“I know that Dennis can come in there and make plays,” Wolfpack forward-center Ben McCauley said. “I think it’s a credit to all the guys on the team, they’re always ready to go.”
McCauley is averaging 12.9 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds. He had a team-best 19 points off the bench in N.C. State’s last matchup with Duke, an 87-86 Blue Devils win March 1 that was Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 800th career victory.
The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 135-96.