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NC State vs. Duke Expert Pick and Prediction – March 31, 2024

NC State vs. Duke Expert Pick and Prediction – March 31, 2024 

NC STATE VS. DUKE EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – March 31, 2024 — It’s a rarity that might become more common as conferences get out of control: a conference matchup in the NCAA tournament. This used to be the earliest round two conference teams could meet until teams started getting more than eight teams in the field and that became impossible.

In the case of Duke and N.C. State, it was still possible because the ACC only landed five bids. But the league has shown it was underrated, and now an all-ACC meeting between the last two standing from the league has arrived.

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Even rarer, these teams just met in their conference tournament. State isn’t here at all if it loses that game to Duke, but the Blue Devils didn’t show up in that game. The Wolfpack eased to a 74-69 win, powered by a complete team effort. Meanwhile, Duke decided to stop trusting its bench in that game.

The Blue Devils haven’t gone back to the bench, preferring to keep the starting five on the floor as often as possible. State played more of a depth game in the second meeting, but the Wolfpack also knew they had to win five games in five days in that situation. Will they use the bench again, or stick with the starters?

The Odds 






NC State

(25-14 SU, 19-19-1 ATS) 






(27-8 SU, 21-14 ATS)






When: Sunday, March 31 at 5 p.m. EST 

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas


Public Bets: 78% on NC State 

Public Money: 63% on NC State

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of March 31st, 2024

NC State vs. Duke In-Season Trends 

One of the best things about State is that it adjusts itself to whatever the game demands in terms of play style. The Wolfpack sit right in the middle nationally in pace of play, and their results in this tournament show that they’ll adjust to whatever the opponent demands. They’ve played equal times to the over and under in the postseason, and each has reflected that except for Virginia, which went over because the game went overtime.

Duke is far more consistent and far more focused on the defensive side of the ball. It’s no coincidence that out of Duke’s past six games, the two losses came when the opponent breached 70 points.

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Bump that up to 71 points, and you’ve got the magic number for the Blue Devils. For the season, Duke is 26-0 when it holds the opponent to 71 or less and 1-8 when the opposition gets above that number.

The Difference-Makers 

Duke needs better shooting from Tyrese Proctor. In the loss to the Wolfpack, Proctor shot just 2-for-7 from deep, as State decided to let Kyle Filipowski get his points while focusing on the perimeter. The strategy paid off as the Blue Devils shot 25% from 3-point range. State’s 3-point defense has carried it in the postseason, and it’s clearly no fluke. Proctor has to step up and find his shooting spots.

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What has to concern Jon Scheyer is that DJ Burns didn’t even play that well in the Wolfpack’s win in Washington. Burns shot just 4-for-11, and the Wolfpack left nine free throws on the table. If Burns can establish himself the way he has in this tournament, State’s got the upper hand.

The Pick 

The fact that State didn’t even play well against Duke last time and still won suggests the Wolfpack can keep this ride going. When Burns plays the way he has for the past two weeks, it’s hard to stop him.

Duke’s also had a bit of a charmed life in this tournament, getting to face Vermont, James Madison and Houston without Jamal Shead. As long as State doesn’t have a surprise injury befall it, the Wolfpack seem to have an edge in this matchup. They might win it outright.

Dan’s Picks 

 NC State +7.5  

 Under 143.5


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