Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Duke, N.C. State are two teams heading different directions

N.C. State and Duke were two teams going in separate directions Wednesday at the RBC Center, as the Blue Devils rolled to a 92-78 victory over a Wolfpack team that still struggles to play defense.

Duke's depth was evident, and the play of sophomore Andre Dawkins was particularly impressive. Dawkins skipped his senior year of high school to enroll a year early last season after Gerald Henderson left for the pros, but he had little impact on the championship year as Duke favored a big lineup. Dawkins averaged just 4.4 points and with Kyrie Irving coming in and Seth Curry eligible, you expected him to get swept aside this season.

Instead, he appears to be solidifying a spot in the starting rotation as Curry's defensive woes are highlighted in the rugged conference play. Dawkins played 23 minutes and scored eight points at the RBC Center, and as you watched the game, he clearly seemed comfortable on the court. Irving's situation is hard to predict - and you can't blame his family for being cautious with an NBA future ahead - and so there are minutes to be had in the backcourt. Dawkins looks like he can hold the job, and that gives Duke real depth there with Curry available for sharp-shooting duties.

Last year, Duke used its loss at N.C. State to redefine itself and become a halfcourt, grind-it-out team. This year, the Devils are heading toward more balance as players like Dawkins exert themselves.

N.C. State is spiraling down a different path. Losing to Duke is no reason for shame, but the Wolfpack now faces a huge game Sunday at the RBC Center against Miami. The Hurricanes are 12-5 overall and 1-2 in the league and a team State should beat. But the Pack can't take anything for granted.

"There are still a lot of games left," coach Sidney Lowe said after the game, according to The News & Observer. "But we need a run. We need a nice run. It's not a panic situation. But too many of those [losses], and yeah, it will be."

Games at Clemson and UNC follow the Miami game, and State's 11-7, 1-3 record could soon take a beating.

1 comment:

  1. Take the 3 super frosh, Wood and work on a post
    player and build a program for the next 3 years.