DUKE BLUE DEVILS (18-2)
at FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (12-8)
Tip-off: Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET
Line: Duke -6.5, Total: 143
Finally with a road win under its belt, No. 5 Duke will hit the road again Saturday, taking on Florida State in Tallahassee.
These teams met three times last season with the eventual ACC Tournament champion Seminoles winning two of those three meetings. But this is a different Florida State squad this year, losing three of their past five in ACC play with the last two defeats coming by 20 points and 24 points. Duke brings one of the nationís most potent offenses to the table (78.0 PPG, 13th in Div. I), but has struggled to find a rhythm without PF Ryan Kelly (foot), having dropped two of their past five games without him.
Will Duke be able to win convincingly on the road? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Dave was a perfect 5-0 ATS on Best Bets Thursday and Friday, giving him a 10-3 ATS (77%) mark in the past five days and 54% ATS (109-93-3) for the season. StatFox Gary is 4-1 ATS (80%) in his past three days of Best Bets, boosting his season record to 56% ATS (67-53-1).
The Duke offense is led by senior PF Mason Plumlee (18.1 PPG, 11.1 RPG), a National Player of the Year candidate who is coming off a career-high, 32-point performance against Wake Forest. Heíll need to step up his play against the Seminoles, though, averaging just 5.0 PPG in the three contests last season. Fellow senior, SG Seth Curry (16.0 PPG), is the teamís other top scorer and is one of the nationís best shooters, nailing 41.4% of his threes this season. PG Quinn Cook (11.2 PPG, 6.3 APG) is developing into an elite floor general has the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the ACC at 2.78 (145 assists, 45 turnovers). Freshman SG Rasheed Sulaimon (11.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG) rounds out the backcourt, but has dealt with inconsistent play. He followed up a career-high, 25-point performance against Maryland with just six points in the 75-70 road win over Wake Forest on Wednesday. The X-factor, though, may be the play of freshman forwards Amile Jefferson (4.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG) and Josh Hairston (2.0 PPG, 2.2 RPG) who have assumed Kellyís minutes, but combined for just one point in the teamís narrow win against the Demon Deacons.
FSU senior SG Michael Snaer (14.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG) was a Duke killer last season, averaging 16.0 PPG in the three contests against the Blue Devils, including a last-second 3-pointer to give the Seminoles a win at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Snaer bears a heavy burden for the offense this season and has struggled with turnovers, coughing it up 2.9 times per game. However, he is coming off a strong game against Maryland, in which he scored 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting and did not turn it over in his 29 minutes of action. The only other double-digit scorer for the 'Noles is junior PF Okaro White (12.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG) who is an athletic defensive weapon, averaging 1.4 BPG and 1.1 SPG. But he will have to step up, as the teamís leading rebounder, PF Terrance Shannon (8.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG), remains out with a neck injury. White will need to be physical and attack Plumlee, who cannot afford to be in foul trouble given Dukeís shallow frontcourt depth.