FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (23-6)
at DUKE BLUE DEVILS (22-7)
Cameron Indoor Stadium – Durham, NC
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:00 pm ET
#15 Florida State will be looking to make a statement with a big road victory over #17 Duke on Tuesday.
The Seminoles have won two straight games heading into Tuesday, and they’ll now look to win their first game in Cameron Indoor Stadium since 2012. Florida State has lost two games in Durham since then, and Duke won those contests by a total of 37 points. The Seminoles will surely be trying to flip the script here, and they should be a confident team on Tuesday. They played a tough game in Clemson on Feb. 25, and they ended up winning 76-74 as 2.5-point favorites. This game should be even tougher, and Duke will definitely be the hungrier team on Tuesday. The Blue Devils have lost two straight coming into this one, as they fell by three at Syracuse on Feb. 22 and then lost by five at Miami on Feb. 25. They should, however, be excited to face a Seminoles team that they are 24-8 SU against since 1997. One trend that does favor Florida State is the fact that the team is 5-1 ATS after a game where the team made 78% of its free throws or better this season. The Seminoles also happen to be 8-2 ATS on Tuesday nights over the past three seasons. Duke, however, is 22-10 ATS after two straight games with 15 or more offensive rebounds since 1997. G Grayson Allen (Ankle) is listed as questionable for Duke after missing last game, and his availability on Tuesday will go a long way in determining the outcome of this contest.
If Florida State is going to beat Duke for a second time this season then F Dwayne Bacon (16.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.0 SPG) is going to need to find his stroke for the Seminoles. Bacon has really struggled recently, scoring just 28 points total over the past three games. He is just 9-for-33 from the floor in that span, and that type of play is not going to cut it on Tuesday. Bacon would be wise to use his size to get some easy shots at the rim early. Once he sees the ball go in, he should be more confident taking jumpers. He has had some of his biggest games of the year in battles like this one, and he must come through for his team. F Jonathan Isaac (12.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 1.2 SPG) and G Xavier Rathan-Mayes (10.3 PPG, 5.0 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.0 SPG) will also need to play well for Florida State, though. Isaac is one of the most intriguing players in the nation, as he has the size of a big and the skill of a guard. He can, however, lack aggressiveness on occasion, and he must make sure that isn’t the case on Tuesday. Rathan-Mayes, meanwhile, is a very good scorer, and he is capable of getting hot in a hurry. It’d be big if he can knock down some big shots in this one.
If Grayson Allen (15.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.9 APG) is able to play on Tuesday then things would be a lot easier on Duke. The Blue Devils are facing an elite Seminoles team and can use all of the talent they can get. Allen might not be having the season many had hoped for, but he is still one of the better guards in the country. If he is unable to go then his teammates would need to pick up the slack. That would put a lot of pressure on somebody like G Luke Kennard (19.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG) in this one. Kennard has been one of the best players in college basketball this season, but it’d be tough for him to get going when he’s the only guy in the backcourt that Florida State needs to stop. Kennard faced a similar situation against Miami, and he went just 6-for-20 from the field in that game. Still, Kennard missed some shots he normally hits in that game and should be a bit better on Tuesday. He is far too good of a shooter to really struggle two games in a row. One guy that could help Kennard out in this one is F Jayson Tatum (16.1 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 1.2 SPG). The freshman struggled against Miami, scoring just eight points on 4-for-16 shooting from the field. He did, however, score at least 19 points in each of the previous three games and also had 21 points the last time he faced the Seminoles. Tatum’s ability to get to the basket and shoot the three makes him a tough cover, and he has really grown as a player in recent weeks. His play could be the x-factor here.