So often when Duke and North Carolina State get together, there are many compelling storylines.
For Saturday afternoon's game, it is fairly basic: Both teams just need to win in order to try to get their seasons back on the right path.
"I think at this point, a sign of progress would be a win for us," Duke swingman Wendell Moore Jr. said.
Duke (7-8, 5-6 ACC) holds a record below .500 for the first time since 1999. Duke's three-game losing streak is tied with Boston College for the longest active skid among ACC teams.
NC State (8-8, 4-7) has lost three of its last four games, defeating only an undermanned Boston College team during that stretch.
"The best answer I can give you, honestly, we just shoot ourselves in the foot every time we come out with a loss," NC State forward D.J. Funderburk said.
Guard Thomas Allen had a season-high 17 points Tuesday night in the Wolfpack's 77-68 loss to visiting Syracuse. NC State has also lost three of its past four home games.
"Just think about this: At the end of the game sometimes when you've got to make some plays and you've got some younger guys out there that have to make plays and haven't been in that situation, that could be it," Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said.
Moore has given Duke recent boosts. The sophomore had his second career double-double in a 93-89 loss to Notre Dame. He is averaging 17 points across the past four games, but the Blue Devils haven't been able to solve all their issues.
"We just have to keep working," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Our kids came ready to play. ... They've been working. This will pay off at some point if you stay with it. ... We as a program need to keep learning that and keep appreciating what it takes to win. You don't do that by not working hard."
Duke has participated in every NCAA Tournament since missing it in 1996, but that streak is in jeopardy.
"It seems difficult to see that happening immediately for us but the immediacy of us working hard will be there all the time," Krzyzewski said. "You never know when it will come and that's why you have to keep preparing and working. ... In losing close games, we have to be careful that they do not lose their confidence. It's really disappointing for them. For me, too."
NC State has won four of the last five home meetings with Duke, including both with Keatts as coach.
--Field Level Media