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  1. #1
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    MBB: Duke v. Florida St., Pre-Game & In-Game Thread (1/25, 1200 EST, ESPN)

    If I asked you to name the best 3 point shooting team in ACC play, how long would it have taken you to get to Florida State as the right answer? The Noles are hitting 3s at just about a 44% clip through 6 games, and that number is even more impressive when you consider that they started conference play 5-25 from downtown. Since then, all they've done is hit 37 of 71 threes over the past 4 games, not shooting below 38% from deep in any of them. That's blistering shooting. It's taken what otherwise would be an average offense and made it a good one - FSU is scoring 1.08 points per possession in conference play, and if they were only shooting at their season average from 3 (a still respectable, but not otherworldly, 37%) that number would drop all the way to 1.016.

    So, is it sustainable? Can the Noles pull one more hot shooting performance in Cameron (a place that, for all its difficulty on road teams, is a very friendly shooting gym)? That may make the difference in whether or not the Noles can spring an upset. Because they'll need something to compensate for what almost assuredly will be a boatload of turnovers. FSU is one of the very worst teams in the country at holding on to the ball, turning it over more than 21% of the time, a number that has stayed relatively constant during ACC play. It's the worst figure in the conference. Duke overall hasn't been the turnover-forcing machine of years past, but in the (admittedly small sample size of) three games since the line change strategy rolled out, Duke's been forcing turnovers at almost exactly the rate that FSU turns the ball over. There's no reason to believe that won't continue on Saturday.

    When Duke has the ball, Florida State is its usual, stingy self. They're big - no one shorter than 6'3", only three people shorter than 6'7", and for the vast majority of the game there will be either 7'1" or 7'3" holding down the middle. FSU is an excellent shot-blocking team and they hold down 2 point field goal percentage as a result. They harass the perimeter and force turnovers at a pretty good clip - Aaron Thomas and Devin Bookert in particular create a lot of steals. They've been unusually vulnerable to offensive rebounding for a big team, and while Bojanovsky and Ojo are tall, they're both slow as molasses - Amile Jefferson, eater of rebounds, can out-work and out-quick them to missed shots to create second opportunities. FSU has struggled in its last two games against Virginia and Notre Dame, two teams that spread you out and play 4-out, 1-in basketball. Duke can execute that kind of strategy well, too. Particularly at home, scoring shouldn't prove to be an obstacle overall for the Devils.

    If the Noles stay hot from outside, I think the game stays pretty close. But if their recent run of hot shooting deserts them, I don't think they have enough fire power to keep up with Duke. Duke by 10. (knock on wood)
    Just be you. You is enough. - K, 4/5/10, 0:13.8 to play, 60-59 Duke.

    You're all jealous hypocrites. - Titus on Laettner

    You see those guys? Animals. They're animals. - SIU Coach Chris Lowery, on Duke

  2. #2
    New to the forum.
    This game scares me more than the upcoming Pitt game. Admittedly, I don't have much view time on Florida St, but don't like the recent box scores they have been posting. This will be a real test for the Devils and I hope they come out on top. With Florida state's size I would like to see the Sulaimon, Hood, Parker, Amile, and Plumlee lineup (Could be interesting). Anyone think this lineup could work?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brockt10 View Post
    New to the forum.
    This game scares me more than the upcoming Pitt game. Admittedly, I don't have much view time on Florida St, but don't like the recent box scores they have been posting. This will be a real test for the Devils and I hope they come out on top. With Florida state's size I would like to see the Sulaimon, Hood, Parker, Amile, and Plumlee lineup (Could be interesting). Anyone think this lineup could work?
    Firstly, welcome! Secondly, you've come to the right place as we love talking about line-ups and minutes.

    With regards to your question, I think the answer is "nope". That line-up is huge and all those players can play those positions, but there is one fatal flaw. Having Amile and Plumlee in the same line-up reduces Amile's effectiveness on offense. Plumlee, right now, is nowhere on offense. FSU would essentially be playing 5-on-3 on defense. Secondly, Sulaimon's main asset - driving - is severely mitigated by having two large bodies in the middle who cannot shot beyond 4 feet. Sulaimon loves to drive and dish, and he's be restricted to Hood and Parker.

    I like the idea, and maybe it would work if Amile had a mid-range, but it brings in too many issues and not enough solutions (other than size).
    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill

    President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by flyingdutchdevil View Post
    Firstly, welcome! Secondly, you've come to the right place as we love talking about line-ups and minutes.

    With regards to your question, I think the answer is "nope". That line-up is huge and all those players can play those positions, but there is one fatal flaw. Having Amile and Plumlee in the same line-up reduces Amile's effectiveness on offense. Plumlee, right now, is nowhere on offense. FSU would essentially be playing 5-on-3 on defense. Secondly, Sulaimon's main asset - driving - is severely mitigated by having two large bodies in the middle who cannot shot beyond 4 feet. Sulaimon loves to drive and dish, and he's be restricted to Hood and Parker.

    I like the idea, and maybe it would work if Amile had a mid-range, but it brings in too many issues and not enough solutions (other than size).
    Well said and I agree with your point. I tend to not like Hood and Parker playing together...from a naked eye perspective they don't mesh well. I really just want to see Amile and Plumlee play significant minutes together to see what happens. This probably isn't the right game to try it with Florida St. shooting the three so well but maybe the Pitt game.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Brockt10 View Post
    Well said and I agree with your point. I tend to not like Hood and Parker playing together...from a naked eye perspective they don't mesh well. I really just want to see Amile and Plumlee play significant minutes together to see what happens. This probably isn't the right game to try it with Florida St. shooting the three so well but maybe the Pitt game.
    As Dutch pointed out, neither Amile nor MP3 can shoot much more than a layup and they are both by far our worst FT shooters, so i'm not sure why you want them playing together so much. I also don't understand why you don't want Hood and Parker playing together, they're our two best players and are both versatile and tall, stretching and breaking defenses. I think they are our best combo and love seeing them play together.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Brockt10 View Post
    Well said and I agree with your point. I tend to not like Hood and Parker playing together...from a naked eye perspective they don't mesh well. I really just want to see Amile and Plumlee play significant minutes together to see what happens. This probably isn't the right game to try it with Florida St. shooting the three so well but maybe the Pitt game.
    I know you're new here, but we've been talking about playing Amile and Marshall together for quite awhile. Bottom line answer is it's unlikely, in large part for the reason FDD mentioned, that since neither Amile nor Marshall can play offense outside of a few feet, it would clog things up. An issue that would be exacerbated by putting three slasher types in the lineup together as well. This is not to say it might not happen for a couple minutes, but I'd be very surprised if we saw that lineup more than that in any game this season (and frankly, I'd be surprised if we saw it at all).

    Also, despite its size, I'm not convinced that lineup would be very good defensively. We've played much better defense over the past few games, but neither Rodney nor Jabari have particularly quick feet on D and the lineup you propose would be even more prone to blow-bys and backdoor cuts than we are now. A lineup with Matt Jones or a focused Quinn Cook or Tyler Thornton or even the new, improved Andre Dawkins instead of a 2nd big would probably show much better defensive rotations (in addition to having more offensive balance). Which presumably is why Coach K plays the lineups he does, instead of basically the biggest lineup possible.

  7. #7
    Also, recently, FSU has spent at least half of the game using 6'8" 204-lb Okaro White at the 4. Their centers are huge yes, but for half the game at least, they're not really bigger than Duke at the other four positions.

    Will be interesting to see who guards their mammoth centers Bojanovsky and Ojo, though. Coach K might put Amile on White since White is the greater scoring threat. But then that means Jabari has to guard the center, which I'm not too fond of. It would definitely be nice for MP3 to have a good game here.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    I know you're new here, but we've been talking about playing Amile and Marshall together for quite awhile. Bottom line answer is it's unlikely, in large part for the reason FDD mentioned, that since neither Amile nor Marshall can play offense outside of a few feet, it would clog things up. An issue that would be exacerbated by putting three slasher types in the lineup together as well. This is not to say it might not happen for a couple minutes, but I'd be very surprised if we saw that lineup more than that in any game this season (and frankly, I'd be surprised if we saw it at all).

    Also, despite its size, I'm not convinced that lineup would be very good defensively. We've played much better defense over the past few games, but neither Rodney nor Jabari have particularly quick feet on D and the lineup you propose would be even more prone to blow-bys and backdoor cuts than we are now. A lineup with Matt Jones or a focused Quinn Cook or Tyler Thornton or even the new, improved Andre Dawkins instead of a 2nd big would probably show much better defensive rotations (in addition to having more offensive balance). Which presumably is why Coach K plays the lineups he does, instead of basically the biggest lineup possible.
    FQC, or Focused Quinn Cook, is a top 3 player - maybe top 2 - for Duke. Unfortunately, FQC only comes out in the first half, and sometimes not a full first half.

    I agree that the over-abundance of slashers doesn't fully work, but it is beginning to be an option for Duke. Sulaimon is by far the best slasher on this team in terms of getting into the lane. With a line-up of Rasheed-[competent shooter]-Hood-Jabari-Amile, Rasheed getting into the lane really opens up the floor. If Rasheed shoots and misses, there is a decent chance that Amile gets the board. If Rasheed is covered well, he can pass out to one of the other shooters. I want to see more of the dribble-drive-dish from Sulaimon. It usually ends in an easy bucket, a foul, or a 3pt shot.
    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill

    President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingdutchdevil View Post
    FQC, or Focused Quinn Cook, is a top 3 player - maybe top 2 - for Duke. Unfortunately, FQC only comes out in the first half, and sometimes not a full first half.

    I agree that the over-abundance of slashers doesn't fully work, but it is beginning to be an option for Duke. Sulaimon is by far the best slasher on this team in terms of getting into the lane. With a line-up of Rasheed-[competent shooter]-Hood-Jabari-Amile, Rasheed getting into the lane really opens up the floor. If Rasheed shoots and misses, there is a decent chance that Amile gets the board. If Rasheed is covered well, he can pass out to one of the other shooters. I want to see more of the dribble-drive-dish from Sulaimon. It usually ends in an easy bucket, a foul, or a 3pt shot.
    When Rasheed is on the floor, we need Amile and Jabari to sit just below the block on the baseline and wait for a dropoff pass so they can get an easy bucket. It's worked a handful of times, as has the dribble-draw and shorter alley-oop pass. Sitting on the baseline makes it hard for the defensive big to help and get back in time. Montrezl Harrell made a living doing this last season on Louisville's title run.

    I thought Amile showed a few nice plays from the FT line against the zone as well. They werent jumpers but he put the ball on the floor and scored or dished pretty well. I am not so sure we will be counting on him to hit that shot this year.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by superdave View Post
    When Rasheed is on the floor, we need Amile and Jabari to sit just below the block on the baseline and wait for a dropoff pass so they can get an easy bucket. It's worked a handful of times, as has the dribble-draw and shorter alley-oop pass. Sitting on the baseline makes it hard for the defensive big to help and get back in time. Montrezl Harrell made a living doing this last season on Louisville's title run.

    I thought Amile showed a few nice plays from the FT line against the zone as well. They werent jumpers but he put the ball on the floor and scored or dished pretty well. I am not so sure we will be counting on him to hit that shot this year.
    Couldn't agree more. But we don't need Amile to hit that shot. If Amile is playing the 5, he needs to rebound, defend, and hit a few lay-ups when in perfect position. With Jabari at the 4 and Josh playing spot minutes backing him up, I think we are able to spread the floor effectively.

    The questions is next year. With Okafor here and a more physically (and mentally) mature MP3, Amile probably shouldn't be playing that much 5. Amile needs to be able to hit a mid-range, or at least give off the perception that he can. LT was never a good mid-range shooter, but he shoot quite a bit with mixed results. Let's see if Amile can do better.
    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill

    President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club

  11. #11
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
    I'm not sure I would describe FSU as "big". I would describe them more as tall. Except for Michael Ojo (huge), their bigs aren't imposing except for all that height, which shows up mostly on the defensive end (i.e. none of their bigs is a dominant scorer). Their best big is Boris Bajanovsky, and he only averages 6 and 3 in fewer than 20 mpg. He does have 37 blocks on the season, though, which is about 2 per game. Long skinny arms.

    Their real strength comes from two guards (Miller and Thomas) and the wing forward, White. Those guys all shoot more than 33% from 3 and more than 80% from the line. And Booker can be dangerous, but again, not a big guy.

    So my take? We need to:

    1. Score around big gangly guys in the middle. Athleticism.
    2. Defend the perimeter.
    3. Without putting their guards on the line. Ever.
    4. Beat their bigs down the court and score quickly inside with Hood, Parker and Jefferson.
    5. Do all the usual things well, like making available shots from the field and the line -- a sometimes surprisingly underestimated aspect of the game, that ball through the hoop thing.

  12. #12
    Who do you think is the most underrated with the most upside potential on this roster?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingdutchdevil View Post
    FQC, or Focused Quinn Cook, is a top 3 player - maybe top 2 - for Duke. Unfortunately, FQC only comes out in the first half, and sometimes not a full first half.
    .
    Agree and this just annoys the heck out of me. I do not get why Quinn just cannot seem to play focused basketball for an entire game. He has all the tools, and when he is playing at his best, he takes this team to a higher level. In college hoops there is no more of a dangerous weapon, than a PG who can get into the lane and either score or dish for an easy score when the team is in desperate need of a hoop. Think Ty Lawson at Unc or Jason Williams at Duke. Quinn can and has done that in several games.

    But then comes the loss of focus and bone head decisions like 2nd half of the Miami game. If he could just eliminate those moments, he could challenge for an All-American team spot. One thing that I feel will help in that regard is the new committment by K to a deeper bench. Quinn was getting 35+ mpg before this started, and now he is down under 30. I think that helps him in multiple ways. Keeps him fresher for one thing, while also taking away the thought process of "well I am going to play 35 minutes no matter how I play". Also shows him that the team can actually play well without him on the floor, so hopefully he recognizes that, and makes him committ to raising the level of his play.

    It's not like he is a non-talented marginal player. The guy can play at an extremely high level, and does so something like 80% of the time. That other 20% of the time though is something Quinn has to address. I know he can, the question is will he?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingdutchdevil View Post
    Couldn't agree more. But we don't need Amile to hit that shot. If Amile is playing the 5, he needs to rebound, defend, and hit a few lay-ups when in perfect position. With Jabari at the 4 and Josh playing spot minutes backing him up, I think we are able to spread the floor effectively.

    The questions is next year. With Okafor here and a more physically (and mentally) mature MP3, Amile probably shouldn't be playing that much 5. Amile needs to be able to hit a mid-range, or at least give off the perception that he can. LT was never a good mid-range shooter, but he shoot quite a bit with mixed results. Let's see if Amile can do better.
    Okafor at the 5 or not, there will be minutes available to Amile next season if he continues to rebound and play defense.

    Also, I am curious if Brockt10 really meant that he doesn't like Hood and Parker playing together at the same time. That is one of the stranger things I have read on this board in quite a while.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Newton_14 View Post
    Agree and this just annoys the heck out of me. I do not get why Quinn just cannot seem to play focused basketball for an entire game. He has all the tools, and when he is playing at his best, he takes this team to a higher level. In college hoops there is no more of a dangerous weapon, than a PG who can get into the lane and either score or dish for an easy score when the team is in desperate need of a hoop. Think Ty Lawson at Unc or Jason Williams at Duke. Quinn can and has done that in several games.

    But then comes the loss of focus and bone head decisions like 2nd half of the Miami game. If he could just eliminate those moments, he could challenge for an All-American team spot. One thing that I feel will help in that regard is the new committment by K to a deeper bench. Quinn was getting 35+ mpg before this started, and now he is down under 30. I think that helps him in multiple ways. Keeps him fresher for one thing, while also taking away the thought process of "well I am going to play 35 minutes no matter how I play". Also shows him that the team can actually play well without him on the floor, so hopefully he recognizes that, and makes him committ to raising the level of his play.

    It's not like he is a non-talented marginal player. The guy can play at an extremely high level, and does so something like 80% of the time. That other 20% of the time though is something Quinn has to address. I know he can, the question is will he?
    After the two turnovers and the intentional foul, the camera caught Cook, with an "aw-s**t-I-don't-want-to-come-out-of-the-game" look that was reminiscent of a freshman Bobby Hurley. When Bobby's attitude got better, he got better. Cook needs to do the same thing I love his passion; he just needs to find a positive way to channel it.

    At its best, this is a team that can play with and beat anyone in the country. Part of being at our best is playing with poise. The team feeds off the PG, and Cook needs to understand his responsibility and his opportunity to take this team to the FF.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eakane View Post
    the camera caught Cook, with an "aw-s**t-I-don't-want-to-come-out-of-the-game" look
    IIRC, he got caught with this look in the first half, too. I thought he was disappointed in his play - I don't recall what happened, but I was surprised because I didn't think it was a bad play. Then, the substitution came, which made me think that maybe he knew it was time for the next platoon. Something to keep an eye on.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brockt10 View Post
    New to the forum.
    This game scares me more than the upcoming Pitt game. Admittedly, I don't have much view time on Florida St, but don't like the recent box scores they have been posting. This will be a real test for the Devils and I hope they come out on top. With Florida state's size I would like to see the Sulaimon, Hood, Parker, Amile, and Plumlee lineup (Could be interesting). Anyone think this lineup could work?
    During the regular season, when you play matters a lot. Midweek road trips to Florida are deadly. Getting FSU on a weekend 3 days after a home win is as good as it gets. A Monday game against Pitt 2 days after a trip to Talahassee, not so much.

  18. #18
    Let's pay them back for that acc champ football game.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    Also, recently, FSU has spent at least half of the game using 6'8" 204-lb Okaro White at the 4. Their centers are huge yes, but for half the game at least, they're not really bigger than Duke at the other four positions.

    Will be interesting to see who guards their mammoth centers Bojanovsky and Ojo, though. Coach K might put Amile on White since White is the greater scoring threat. But then that means Jabari has to guard the center, which I'm not too fond of. It would definitely be nice for MP3 to have a good game here.
    I wouldn't even call that a recent trend. White has played PF for most of his career.

    FSU will almost always have a 7-footer on the floor, but they are generally much smaller at PF.

  20. #20
    I remember watching an FSU game earlier this year, can't remember which one, where Ojo was just incredible. As long as we avoid Ojo playing like Nnoko against Duke, I think we'll be okay. Duke for all it's defensive lapses, has remained a pretty good 3 point defending team. Should be an interesting game. Decent prep for what Pitt will offer without the perimeter talent of Patterson and the like.

    I actually think Amile's speed will get their 7 footers into foul trouble because I think he will stay aggressive when he has the opportunity.

    If we play well, we should be okay, but Saturday at Noon tip-off games are kinda tough to get up for. We'll see.

    Go Duke.

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