No. 24 Florida State Seminoles (22-7) at No. 7 Duke Blue Devils (24-5)
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C., 8:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The No. 7 Duke Blue Devils will host the no. 24 ranked Florida State Seminoles on Tuesday night in a heated ACC battle. The Blue Devils defeated the Seminoles back in early January by the score of 66-58 in a low scoring affair. Tuesdays match-up will most likely highlight a bit more scoring. Florida State has lingered around the break of the Top 25 for a few weeks now and they will attempt to take down the Blue Devils fresh off a solid win over Clemson on Saturday. Duke on the other hand has now won 4 straight since their back to back losses from Boston College and North Carolina. Freshman Elliot Williams was thrown into the lineup to add a spark and so far the move has paid off for Coach Ks Blue Devils.
Florida State has only averaged 68 points this season ranking dead last in the high scoring Atlantic Coast Conference. However, the numbers are a bit misleading as Florida State sports the conferences number 1 scoring defense holding teams to only 64 points per game this year. In the Seminoles meeting earlier this season with Duke, Florida State dominated the boards pulling down 12 more rebounds than the Blue Devils. However, a poor shooting performance that consisted of the Noles only knocking down 31% from the field led to their demise. Also in that game, the Florida State starters only combined for 30 points in the entire game which certainly did not help the cause. The Seminoles look to get a better shooting effort in Durham this Tuesday.
The Duke Blue Devils own the conferences number 3 ranked scoring offense that has averaged 79 points per game this season. Junior Gerald Henderson has really emerged as an elite force for the Blue Devils this season. Henderson knocked down 25 points nearly equaling the total for the entire Florida State starting lineup in their earlier meeting. However it was not the scoring that lifted the Blue Devils over Florida State, but rather their strong defense. Duke held Florida State to their lowest point total in the last 15 games and that strong defense could be key again this Tuesday.
The books have opened the betting line has opened the No. 7 Duke Blue Devils as 11.5 favorites over Florida State. The total for the contest has yet to be released and will be posted closer to starting time.
Gerald Henderson has now taken over the highest scoring average this season for Duke after trailing Kyle Singler all season. Both Singler and Henderson are averaging roughly 16 points and have been really big threats for Duke down the stretch of the season. Although the Blue Devils have virtually been eliminated from any regular season ACC title hopes, they could still close out the year very strong with two quality wins over Florida State and then the big rivalry battle with North Carolina. Duke was viewed as a possible number 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament just a few weeks ago, but will likely settle for a number 2 seed ranking come Selection Sunday.
Florida State is led by the play of senior guard Toney Douglas. Douglas is the only Seminole averaging double figures with a healthy total of 20.6 points per game average. Douglas ranks 2nd in the ACC behind superstar Tyler Hansbrough and knocked down 23 points in the last meeting against the Blue Devils. The Seminoles will need to control the boards again similar to the last meeting. However, they will need to shoot the ball much better even though they have not been a very strong shooting team this season or shut down the Blue Devils offense similar to the way they handled Clemson.
Duke has won 7 of the last 10 games straight up against Florida State. However, the Seminoles own an impressive 8-2 ATS mark in that 10 game stretch. Even more impressive is that 9 of the last 10 games have gone on the under total in the series.
Jays Pick - Florida State +11.5