I thought there might be a thread already on a game that has huge implications in so many ways. In a sense, this is the biggest game to date for Duke with the conference regular season at stake. This should be a barn burner for sure and I personally cannot wait for tip off in that this will be a brawl. The players seem ready for the challenge, especially Austin Rivers. Here is what he had to say yesterday - http://bluedevilnation.net/2012/02/13266/ and then there is Ryan Kelly which this interview is pretty much the same one everybody else has - http://bluedevilnation.net/2012/02/d...florida-state/
I was impressed with their win over NCS and the Noles are like 10-1 in there last 11 games, making them the ACC's hottest team.
Florida State is a very, very deep team. Against NC State, they had five players pick up two fouls in the first half and they never skipped a beat. Hamilton used 11 players in the first half and all 11 contributed.
Ian Miller might have been their best player against NCSU and he comes off the bench.
So, they don't worry all that much about fouls.
And these aren't cheap fouls. FSU is big and strong and they get their money's worth.
So, the key is to match that level of physicality without being thrown off what you do well. Plumlee, Plumlee, Kelly and Hairston in particular need to strap on the hard hats and get ready to go to work.
I have no doubt but that FSU is entering this game with a great deal of confidence.
1. Their recent play has been solid, save the one inexplicable upset.
2. They already beat Duke AT DUKE just a few weeks ago. And recall that it wasn't a "fluke", as Duke fought back in the last minute just to catch up.
3. This game is at FSU, where they've historically played Duke well (and, of course, see point #2... If you can beat someone at THEIR place, shouldn't you expect to do it, then, at your own?).
I do expect Duke to be coming into this one really, really focused. Given that there's a real possibility of ending the season tied with these guys in the standings, a split of our match-ups would obviously impact the ACCT seeds. You could easily make the argument that this is the most important game that remains on our schedule.
1. Duke really needs to get off to a solid start. It has been hard to understand how they have been so off at the start of recent games. I can't put my finger on what is happening to the team to cause this, but it just seems they have no focus until they get into the game after getting behind. Perhaps it is the structure of the starting lineup, but coach K has tried a lot of variations at the start of the games and hasn't really had much luck.
2. We know that FSU plays physical defense and won't allow a lot of space for our shooters outside nor give up much to our front court. Clearly we also need to play solid defense for the entire game. I have been happy with the progress of Seth, Andre and Austin on the defensive end. If we can hold FSU's scoring down and rebound reasonably well, It will come to who has the best offense. I think Duke can win that battle.
3. With the closeness of the guarding, Seth's ball handling is suspect. He had 6 TO's in the last game, something that we won't be able to afford against FSU. While we need Seth to score points, it may be necessary to pass the ball handling chores over to Quinn or Tyler. If Seth can tighten up his handle, we can then put our three best guards on the floor together.
4. I would like to see Andre build on his recent progress and move a lot more without the ball. If they tire of chasing him, he can be a very effective scorer.
5. Our inside game has not been solid when facing a big and physical front court. Our guys have got to try to compete equally in scoring, rebounding and defensive effort to give us our best chance. Mason needs to move it up a notch from his most recent efforts.
1. How will the big guys do? Duke's bigs had little success in January against a physical FSU team, rebounding OK, but totaling only 5 of 16 from within the arc. Miles and Mason had 7 and 6 respectively Ryan had ten, but six were from 3-pt. land.
2. Can Duke stand up physically for 40 minutes against the 'Noles? Last time, the big and deep FSU team was much stronger than Duke in the second half. Will K use a ten-man rotation (w/ Josh and Gbinije) this time?
3. Duke shot 40% from beyond the arc in the first game, but Seth struggled with his shot (4-16). Will Seth provide scoring and leadership this time?
4. Will this game turn on an emotional moment like the last one? I thought the Snaer fluke at the end of the first half propelled FSU in the second half.
1. Start strong, which is exactly what we did against UNC. We took shots with confidance
2. Feed Mason early: Let him establish a low post presence even against their long front line
3. Push their guards out: We have yet to do this consistently this year, but it would be nice to force their guards to set up their offense further out and away from their comfort zones. Andre and Tyler can help with this if we can stay in front of the dribble drive
4. Limit Second Chance Points: I'll let FSU shoot all night save Snaer and Dulkys, but we have to get bodies on guys and Mason adn Miles may both need double digit boards tonight
5. Play Loose: They are home, they are supposed to protect their court, let's play with energy and freedom
6. Swagger: it's time to bring out the Duke swagger. We are freakin Duke and you're Not.
I'm not saying it was a "fluke." It was a hard fought game. But Florida State was playing catchup for practically the entire game, and Duke never got behind by more than one possession.
I think the key to the game is controlling Bernard James. In the first game, he seemed to be in a fog in the first half and we outplayed them. He woke up in the second half and they outplayed us. If we can get him in foul trouble, their lineup is much less effective without him. Alternatively, it would be nice if Mason or Miles steps up and gives Mr. James a frustrating evening.
That's a six-point swing in a matter of seconds. Now, FSU is a veteran team, with lots of poise and moxy, so maybe it would have turned out the same. But a 12-point deficit at intermission is a different can of worms than a six-point deficit.
This should be a great game. FSU certainly belongs in the discussion of best conference team with us and the heels -- it's no fluke. Time to put on our big boy pants and clamp down on D.
"Enjoy every sandwich" -- Warren Zevon
Vegas has Duke as a one point favorite with the over/under set at 140.5:
71-70? I'll take it!
United States Navy (Retired)
Hard to find any fault in Duke's win over BC. About the only negative in what was otherwise a laugher: Mason's very ill-advised fouls. He ended with 4 fouls, of which I'd count 3 as un-smart, starting, early on, with a foul on a little used Fr C way out top. That fellow was no threat to do [much of] anything, so Mason's hack 25' out was un-smart.
In the first few minutes, it seemed clear that K's game plan included getting the ball to Mason down low. But because of Mason's foul troubles, that part of the game plan went out the window.
To no harm whatsoever, for that game. But BC just didn't have much of an inside game, whereas James, especially, but also Gibson and White can score.