RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina State faces its stiffest challenge of the year when it makes the short trip to Durham to face eighth-ranked Duke. Fortunately for N.C. State, it enters that contest riding a bit of momentum after knocking off Louisville Wednesday.
“I think it helps our confidence,” said N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts. “We played a very good Louisville team on their floor, and I thought it was the most complete game we played.”
The Wolfpack shot a season-high 56.1 percent in its 79-63 win over the Cardinals. It could use a similar effort on Saturday playing at one of college basketball’s toughest environments.
“I think our team is just excited about playing right now,” Keatts said. “Certainly that is a great venue to play in. Our guys are having fun, they’re gelling, they’re coming together.”
Meanwhile, it’s still not known if Duke will have legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski back on the bench for the contest. Krzyzewski missed the Devils last game at Wake Forest with a non-COVID-related illness.
“I hope he’s healthy,” Keatts said. “We’re still going to get the chance to play against a really good Duke team on their home floor. At the end of the day, the most important thing for me is his health and everybody else’s health.”
When it comes to health, the Wolfpack has been pretty fortunate so far. Many teams have had to pause due to COVID-19, but not N.C. State.
“We’re excited to be playing basketball,” Keatts said. “We’re one of the few teams, knock on wood, that hasn’t had a pause. Just to have the opportunity to play we don’t take for granted anymore.
“I know a lot of people want to hear, ‘Hey man, you’re playing against Duke, you should be excited.’ I think our excitement is because we’re playing against everybody.”
Saturday’s game is set for 2 p.m.