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Game Preview by @RandyDunson – Duke Blue Devils vs. Florida State Seminoles

By January 9, 2017No Comments

Game Preview

#7/7 Duke Blue Devils [14-2, 2-1] vs. #9/10 Florida State Seminoles (FSU) [15-1, 3-0]

January 10, 2017 • 8:00 PM ET • Tallahassee, FL • Donald L. Tucker Center

Media: ACC Network, Watch ESPN Link, Blue Devil IMG Sports Network

By Randy Dunson [Note: Please direct comments, suggestions, etc. to @RandyDunson]

Team Overviews


Duke visits Florida State on Tuesday in search of its first true road win of the season. The Blue

Devils are 2-1 this season against ranked teams.

Jeff Capel is currently serving as acting head coach for Duke while Mike Krzyzewski recovers from lower back surgery.


  • Led by Luke Kennard (20.3), Duke has five players averaging double figures. The Blue Devils have a true shooting percentage of .488 and an effective field goal percentage of .555 on the year.
  • Kennard ranks in the top five of the ACC in scoring, field goal pct., three-point pct., free throw pct., three-pointers per game and minutes played.
  • In ACC play, Kennard is shooting a league-high .594 from the field. Kennard’s active streak of 19 straight games with a three-pointer is the longest in the ACC.
  • In eight games since he made his collegiate debut, Jayson Tatum leads Duke in blocks (1.9) and steals (2.1) per game. He is averaging 3.0 steals per game in ACC play.
  • Tatum also ranks second on the team in scoring (17.0), a mark that would rank second among ACC freshmen if he had played enough games to qualify for the rankings.
  • Since Grayson Allen assumed primary point guard duties in Duke’s reconfigured rotation, he is averaging 13.5 points and 9.0 assists while shooting .571 from the floor and .400 from outside the arc.

Probable Starters

Guard – Junior Grayson Allen

Guard –Sophomore Luke Kennard

Guard – Freshman Frank Jackson

Forward – Freshman Jayson Tatum

Forward – Freshman Harry Giles

Florida State

[Please note at the time of this publishing, FSU had not updated their website to provide overall background team information. If is updated later, this information will be added here.]


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Probable Starters

Guard – Junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes

Guard – Sophomore Terance Mann

Guard – Sophomore Dwayne Bacon

Forward – Freshman Jonathan Issac

Center – Grad Student Michael Ojo

Last Time Out


Then No. 8 Duke lost its Hall of Fame coach earlier in the week, its most experienced player in the first half and most of its huge lead in the second.

Freshman Jayson Tatum and acting head coach Jeff Capel made sure the Blue Devils would not lose the game, too.

Tatum matched a season high with 22 points, scoring nine in the final 4½ minutes, and Duke held on to beat Boston College 93-82 on Saturday in Capel’s season debut as Mike Krzyzewski’s temporary replacement.

Grayson Allen had 12 points and 11 assists, and the Blue Devils had six double-figure scorers in winning their first game at Cameron Indoor Stadium without Coach K since 1995. Krzyzewski had back surgery Friday and is expected to miss roughly four weeks.

The Blue Devils (14-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) shot 55 percent but blew most of a 25-point lead, with the Eagles chipping away over the final 10 minutes and pulling to 88-82 on Ky Bowman’s reverse layup with 44.1 seconds left.

BC followed that with three straight empty possessions while Tatum hit four free throws in the final 42 seconds to put Duke back up by double figures.

Jerome Robinson had 21 points and Bowman scored 19 for BC (8-8, 1-2).

This closer-than-expected victory capped an eventful week at Duke that started with the announcement that Krzyzewski was taking a leave of absence to have a fragment of a herniated disk removed from his back, and included the end of Allen’s indefinite suspension. Then there was the transition to Capel, a former Duke guard who at age 41 is already a coaching veteran.

For 30 minutes, the Blue Devils looked much like the same team that beat Georgia Tech by 53 points three nights earlier. Then they went cold while the Eagles reeled off 11 straight points down the stretch.


  • The Blue Devils started the game with their healthiest roster of the season. Then forward Amile Jefferson left in the first half with what Capel said was a right foot or ankle injury. He returned to the bench, still in uniform, midway through the second half but did not play again. The fifth-year senior missed the final three months of last season with a broken right foot.
    • Update: It was determined that Jefferson suffered a bone bruise to the same foot. Although he will not play against FSU, Duke is hopeful that he can return on Saturday against Louisville.
  • Duke had 20 assists, giving the Blue Devils a two-game total of 44.
  • They had a combined 15 in their previous two games.
  • The Cameron Crazies howled with sarcastic anger in the final minute of the first half when BC’s Garland Owens was called for a foul after, ironically, he tripped Allen.
  • Seven of the eight Blue Devils who played scored at least nine points.
  • Duke guard Luke Kennard had nine points, his first game this season with fewer than 10.

Florida State

Leonard Hamilton’s Florida State basketball team made a little history Sunday at the Donald L. Tucker Center, and there was no shortage of contributing factors to the 93-78 victory over Virginia Tech.

Terance Mann scored a career-high 22 points but he excitedly spoke afterward about the contributions from the bench, which produced 35 points as the No. 12 Seminoles (15-1) improved to 3-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play for the first time in 26 years of league play by turning back the No. 21 Hokies (12-3, 1-2 ACC).

In addition to matching the school record with their 11th consecutive victory, the Noles recorded their third win – and second consecutive – over a nationally ranked opponent this season. They will carry that momentum into Tuesday night’s home showdown No. 8 Duke (8 PM), which will be the third of six consecutive games against top 25 opponents.

The Noles and Hokies spent the first eight minutes trading baskets and lead changes – there were seven – before FSU turned up the heat on the defensive end and sprinted away to a 48-37 halftime lead.

Trailing 20-16 following Ahmed Hill’s 3-pointer at 12:36, FSU held Virginia Tech scoreless for nearly four minutes. Back-to-back baskets by Seminole reserves Jarquez Smith and Christ Koumadje knotted the score. The 7-foot-4 Koumadje triggered the go-ahead score by grabbing a Hill lob attempt from the air and feeding Bacon for a run out layup and a 22-20 lead with 9:48 to play in the first half.

Though the Hokies briefly forged a tie on a pair of Zach LeDay free throws, they never regained their early offensive flow. A Bacon runner and Mann’s second 3-pointer of the game restored order, as Virginia Tech never had a possession with a chance to tie or take the lead the rest of the way.

A pair of three-pointers by PJ Savoy, who had 11 points in seven minutes of action, enabled the Noles to maintain their cushion heading to the locker room, but it was FSU’s depth and defensive intensity had everything to do with the Hokies’ demise.

Virginia Tech was just 6-of-17 from the floor after knocking down seven of its first 10 attempts and further hurt its cause with eight turnovers over the final 12 minutes of the half. Not only did the Noles turn 10 first half Hokie turnovers into 15 points, they also outscored their visitors 13-4 in fast break points.

The Hokies came into the game leading the ACC in three-point field goal percentage and averaging nine a game from beyond the arc, made just 4-of-15.

It certainly did not hurt to have fresh legs on defense as the Noles deployed 13 different players over the course of the game – 10 who recorded double-digit minutes – while Virginia Tech played just six players 10 or more minutes.

“We’re so deep and all of the guys that are playing minutes bring a different type of energy and we know that once that person comes in, we have that expectation to bring energy to the table,” said Smith, who scored 12 points, blocked two shots and snared four rebounds in 17 minutes of reserve work. “We know they’re going to do it.

“The guys on the first wave [of reserves] take pride in bringing more energy, once they’ve been worn down by the first group. We try to rev it up and once we get tired, we’ve got another group coming back in to pick up right where we left off.”

In addition to Smith, Savoy added 11 points off the bench, while CJ Walker pitched in seven more.

Bacon, the reigning ACC Player of the Week, extended his streak of double-digit scoring games to 25 games with 17 points. Freshman Jonathan Isaac pitched in 13 points and eight rebounds; one shy of Mann’s game and career-high matching nine boards.

Trailing 11 at the break, the Hokies only once whittled the deficit to single digits in the second half. Ty Outlaw’s dunk off a turnover cut the margin to 55-47 with 14:54 to play, but the Noles countered with a reserve-led 19-8 run over the next six-plus minutes to salt the victory away.


  • The Seminoles earned their 11th straight victory and in the process tied the program record for consecutive wins with the 1969-70 season when Florida State posted 11 victories from January 9-February 14, 1970.
  • Florida State improved to 6-1 on the season as a ranked team, picking up its second victory in the ACC as a ranked team.
  • The 3-0 start in Atlantic Coast Conference play marks the first time since the 1988-89, when Florida State was a member of the Metro Conference, that the Seminoles were 3-0 in conference action.
  • Terance Mann, who recorded a career-high 22 points and a game-high nine rebounds, led the Florida State offense by hitting 7-of-11 from the floor, which included a pair of 3-pointers, and 6-of-8 at the free throw line.
  • Mann, who topped his previous career-best in points by three, was one shy of his career-high in rebounds.
  • Dwayne Bacon registered his 25th consecutive double figure performance as the sophomore guard scored 17 points after hitting 6-of-16 from the floor and 5-of-5 at the free throw line. Bacon’s double figure streak began on Feb. 17, 2016 against Georgia Tech in Tallahassee.
  • Freshman Jonathan Isaac reached double figures in scoring for the ninth time this season and second time in ACC action as he tallied 13 points in 26 minutes. Isaac, who was 4-of-7 from the field and 5-of-6 at the charity stripe, was responsible for eight of Florida State’s 39 rebounds, grabbing six on the defensive glass.
  • Seminoles took a 48-37 lead into the intermission, marking the eighth time this season and first time in ACC action that Florida State has scored at least 40 points in the opening frame. The most points in the first half (61) came against Nicholls State (Dec. 8, 2016).
  • Florida State earned back-to-back victories over ranked teams (11-Virginia, 60-58—Dec. 31) and (21-Virginia Tech, 93-78—Jan. 7) for the first time since downing (6-Duke, 62-59—March 10, 2012) and (4-North Carolina, 83-62—March 11) in the 2012 ACC Tournament.
  • The 93-point output marks the sixth time this season that Florida State has topped 90 points in a contest.
  • The duo of Jarquez Smith (12 points) and PJ Savoy (11) were vital for the Seminoles as they provided a 35-6 advantage in points off the bench.


Duke leads the all-time series 35-9. In the last 10 games, the Blue Devils have the edge, 7-3. In their last meeting on February 16, 2016, Duke defeated the Seminoles, 80-65.


[National ranking in parentheses.]

When looking at the key stats, these teams compare well across the board. Both have very robust offensive stats. Both shoot fairly high 3PT percentages, but Duke is much better at defending three pointers. The Blue Devils due have an edge in both offensive & defensive rebounding.

Duke2016-17 Regular Season Key Stats ComparisonFlorida State
20.8 (3)PPG (Scoring Margin)17.9 (9)
64.5 (31)Opponents PPG66.5 (54)
55.6 (25)Effective FG%56.5 (16)
48.8 (21)FG%50.6 (6)
40.9 (63)Opponent FG%38.9 (21)
36.9 (94)3PT FG%37.5 (73)
28.7 (7)Opponent 3PT FG%31.5 (52)
7.0 (27)RPG (Rebound Margin)5.3 (55)
32.6 (39)Opponent RPG33.6 (69)
73.8 (64)FT%70.9 (146)
14.4 (114)APG15.3 (76)
6.1 (11)SPG (%)6.4 (16)
3.4 (38)Turnovers Per Game (Margin)2.7 (52)
14.7 (74)Opponent TOPG15.1 (54)
4.7 (58)BPG5.2 (38)
17.0 (47)Fouls Per Game19.2 (176)

Four Factors to Winning

[If you wish to learn more about how the four factors are calculated and implemented, a description can always be found here,] [Note: Numbers in parentheses are D-1 Average]


55.5 (26)15.7 (18)34.1 (56)40.1 (72)

Florida State

56.5 (15)16.9 (58)34.5 (48)41.8 (42)

Both teams are very effective in shooting the ball, but FSU does rank higher. Duke protects the ball more effectively. Each team is fairly close in offensive rebounding, with the Seminoles holding an edge. Finally, both do well at getting to the free throw line.


The Duke Blue Devils have won 12 of their last 13 games heading into a road date with the Florida State Seminoles at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Tuesday night. Duke is coming off consecutive victories over Georgia Tech and Boston College. The Seminoles are an awesome 15-1 and have lost only to Temple this season. They are in the midst of an 11-game winning streak and most recently defeated Virginia Tech last Saturday.

Duke will not have starting forward Amile Jefferson available on Tuesday, acting head coach Jeff Capel announced on Monday. Jefferson sustained a bone bruise in his right foot during this past weekend’s 93-82 win over Boston College. The 6-foot-9 senior broke the same foot last season and missed all but nine games. Jefferson has started every game for the Blue Devils during this 2016-17 campaign, averaging 13.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per contest. With the power forward unavailable, Duke will count on freshmen big men Harry Giles and Marques Bolden for their interior play along with 6-foot-10 sophomore Chase Jeter. Capel said Jeter, who has missed the last two games with a back injury, has improved, and should be able to suit up against Florida State.

“Amile is as important a player that we have,” Capel said. “His importance (and) his value cannot be measured by just numbers and the numbers themselves are incredibly impressive. However, the things that he does…coaches really value the things that he does. You see it a little different, the leadership, the talking, the experience. Being the most respected guy on the court and in the locker room…. We will evaluate him Wednesday.”

These do not appear to be the Seminoles of previous years who have missed the last four NCAA Tournaments. Sophomore forward Dwayne Bacon has developed into an absolute scoring threat in his second season. As a freshman, the 6-foot-7 Bacon was effective inside the arc but opponents quickly learned to give him open looks from three-point range. Now, however, Bacon is connecting on 37 percent of his three-pointers and has become the obvious focal point of a much-improved Florida State offense. In three ACC games, the Seminoles have averaged 1.14 points per possession.

Of course, the ‘Noles are not just about Bacon. They are so deep, in fact, that head coach Leonard Hamilton often uses the five-in, five-out platoon substitution plan that Kentucky showcased during the 2014-15 season. Terance Mann led FSU with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting in the recent 93-78 drubbing of Virginia Tech. Xavier Rathan-Mayes is recording a career-low turnover rate at point guard.

Capel is the acting head coach for the Blue Devils because Mike Krzyzewski underwent back surgery last week and could be sidelined for close to a month. Duke was solid but unspectacular in Capel’s first game against Boston College. As for Florida State, it is looking like it not only wants to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012 but also to snag a high seed. Expect those trends to continue.


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Both teams are coming off shootout wins, but those could be aberrations as opposed to the rules. They are two of the best defensive teams in the ACC, without question. On the offensive end, not having Jefferson will hurt Duke. I like to look at what the odds makers have to say about games from time to time. For this game, the under is 20-8 in the Blue Devils’ last 28 overall, 8-2 in their last 10 road games, 16-5 in their last 21 against winning opponents, and 19-7 in their last 26 following a win. It is also 4-1 in the Seminoles’ last five overall, 4-1 in their last five following a win, and 17-5 in their last 22 against winning opponents. Look for this one to stay under the total. I really hate to say it, but without Amile in the lineup, Duke comes up short, 75-85.

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