Tonight’s ACC Championship game features two programs with vastly different histories. Duke is looking to win its 21st ACC title. Florida State, on the other hand, is aiming to bring home its second. Both teams are coming off of huge wins. Last night, Florida State took down 1 seeded Virginia, then Duke defeated rival North Carolina. The earlier matchup between these two teams ended in dramatic fashion, with Cam Reddish hitting a game-winning three as time expired. Can Florida State get their revenge?
Season Series: 1-0 Duke
Duke is without Marques Bolden due to a knee injury.
There are no reported injuries for Florida State.
Three Keys for a Duke win:
Ball Movement. Florida State is a deep, athletic team full of long, aggressive defenders. Duke will struggle all night if they play heavy iso ball. They have to keep the ball moving around the court if they hope to score with any consistency.
Limit Fouls. Florida State is comfortable going deep into their bench. They had 9 players play at least 11 minutes against Virginia. The Seminoles rank 30th nationally in percentage of bench minutes used, according to KenPom.com. Duke is the exact opposite, ranking 228th. Their usual rotation goes 8, maybe 9 players deep. They cannot afford to get into foul trouble.
Hit Threes. Last time these teams faced off, Duke shot 11-24 from three. Keep in mind that they played the second half of game one without Zion Williamson due to an eye injury. Another hot shooting night could bode well for the Blue Devils, especially with their biggest inside threat back on the floor.
Three Keys for a Florida State win:
Utilize depth. Florida State is one of the deepest teams in the country. The roster is full of high-energy, long, aggressive players that can overwhelm teams with their chemistry. There is very little drop off between lineups, and that can make them extremely difficult to plan for, especially for a shorter bench like Duke. Both teams are playing their third game in as many days, so expect coach Leonard Hamilton to make a steady flow of substitutions.
Force turnovers. The Seminoles come into this game ranked ninth in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. Their identity lies on that end of the floor. Forcing turnovers and getting run outs will be essential, and will help them wear Duke down throughout the course of the game.
Control the paint. In the first meeting, Florida State won the rebounding battle 36-27, holding Duke to their second lowest total of the season. FSU grabbed 16 offensive boards as well, which was the second most allowed to an opponent by Duke. Another effort like that, combined with a concerted effort to clog the paint on defense, will put Duke in a tough spot, having to rely on their perimeter shooting.
Other Game Notes:
Both teams play exceptional defense, with Duke being sixth and FSU being ninth in defensive efficiency. (KenPom)
The matchups between these two teams over the past few years have been very close games. The last four games have been decided by an average of 4.5 points per game.
This game has huge implications in the NCAA tournament. Duke is attempting to make a case for a 1-seed, and a win here should solidify that. Florida State is currently projected as a 4-seed in the West portion of the bracket, but could move to the 3-seed, overtaking LSU after their loss to Florida in the SEC Quarterfinals.
Born: May 3rd, 1997 (21 years old) Height: 6’3 Weight: 220 Lbs Position: Quarterback University: Ohio State
Ever since Dwayne was a child, he had dreams of being the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes. 10 years later, he not only broke nearly every passing record for Ohio State, but he also broke Big 10 records held by Drew Brees. Dwayne was able to throw for nearly 1,000 more yards and 11 more touchdowns even though he only played in 1 more game than the 2nd place holders. He would go on to become Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year for this performance and led his team to a Rose Bowl victory over 9th ranked Washington.
The Premier League title race has started to heat up over the past couple of weeks. Manchester City currently sits atop the standings with Liverpool hot on its heels and Tottenham just behind. So, who is going to the top of the tree come May?
This season’s title race has been one of the closest for years. Liverpool has led the way for most of the campaign but Manchester City leapfrogged to the top last weekend after the Reds failed to get all three points from the Merseyside Derby.
When I think about March Madness, memories of watching guys like Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette carry their team on tournament runs always come to mind. It’s one of the most interesting narratives in the tournament-one guy putting the team on his back, especially offensively, and willing them to victories. Everyone loves watching a hero, here are this year’s candidates to play that role.