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College Basketball Pick
Duke won their first road game of the season on Wednesday. Yes, you read that right, we’re already into February and it took the Blue Devils half a season to get a road win. Of course, that was only their third true road contest of the season, but they had three road wins by this time last year. While it was a win, it was anything but pretty beating a weak Wake Forest squad by five points. Still, give them credit, road conference wins don’t come easy.
For their next road game, the Blue Devils get to travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida State who sits only one game behind Duke in the ACC standings. The Seminoles have been terrible on the road losing their last two games by a combined 44 points. Luckily for them, they will be at home where they’ve won two straight over Clemson and Maryland.
This hasn’t been the season FSU was hoping for as they started off ranked No. 25 in the nation, but immediately lost that billing with a loss to South Alabama. It’s been a struggle for them, yet through it all they still have a 4-3 conference record and are tied with North Carolina.
Florida State’s defense hasn’t been enough for them to overcome a less than average offense. They don’t score a lot, they aren’t a great rebounding team and they turn it over 15 times per game. Those aren’t recipes for success. The absence of Ryan Kelly for Duke leaves the door open, but the Seminoles are also hurting because of injuries. Terrance Shannon, their third leading scorer and leading rebounder is out with a neck sprain. What happens when you take a top scorer away from an already offensively deficient team? Nothing good.
Since they don’t have a ton of outstanding players, they often use 11 players which is very rare. Okaro White and Michael Snaer will be the main players to watch out for offensively. The two combined for 33 points in their most recent win against Maryland. On the other end of that, they only had 10 against Miami (FL) as the team scored 47 points. If those guys can’t get going, there aren’t many more options. Off the bench, Ian Miller has hit double figures in two straight games, but isn’t really someone to count on as he had just four points in the previous three games.
Duke is having problems defensively without Kelly, but again, that might not be a huge deal against FSU. Offensively, they have looked better since their 27-point beating by the Hurricanes. The trio of Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry and Quinn Cook were unstoppable against the Demon Deacons. Plumlee dominated down low and finished with 32 points and nine rebounds. Even though Curry and Cook struggled from outside again, they both managed to find other ways to score en route to 33 combined points. Florida State can play good defense, but they haven’t really stopped a top team yet. If you put too much focus on those three guys, there’s always Rasheed Sulaimon who can make shots when needed. He led the Blue Devils with 25 points in the win over Maryland.
This game won’t be a walkover because Duke struggles on the road, but the Seminoles aren’t impossible to beat at home and already lost to the Tar Heels this year in Tallahassee.
Predicted Score - Duke 78 Florida St 64
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