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Florida State

at

Duke

College Basketball

Pick

2/28/17

The ACC regular season title may be out of reach for these teams, but there's still plenty to play for with both aiming for at least a 4-seed come Selection Sunday. Florida State has had its issues on the road this season and will get another test at Cameron Indoor on Tuesday. The Seminoles escaped with a win at Clemson on Saturday, but prior to that, were handled at Notre Dame and Pittsburgh and this one against Duke is arguably tougher than those two.

But the Blue Devils still have their issues as seen in close wins against Clemson and Wake Forest in their last two home games. To go with that, Grayson Allen missed Saturday's loss at Miami due to a bad ankle. It's a wonder if Allen will sit again in order to get him completely healthy for the postseason. For Duke's senior night (seniors are Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones), revenge will also be on the mind after getting dominated in Tallahassee 88-72 at the beginning of January.

That loss was at the beginning of Duke's struggles, implementing key freshmen back into the lineup and losing Coach K a few days beforehand. The game was close and high scoring in the first half, but Duke couldn't keep up as Florida State closed the final 10 minutes on a 30-18 run. Of course, Amile Jefferson didn't play in that game, which meant Chase Jeter was forced into 25 minutes and he doesn't even see the floor when everyone on the team is healthy. The presence of Jefferson means that Florida State won't be able to dominate in the paint as it did last game. Michael Ojo and Jarquez Smith combined for 17 points and neither of them average more than 5.2 per game.

The addition of Jefferson will keep things more even in that department, but also the improvement of Jayson Tatum over the last month is extremely relevant. Tatum will likely be matched up with Jonathan Isaac, both of whom are expected lottery picks in the upcoming NBA draft, so plenty of eyes will be on them. Isaac has the size and length, but Tatum has the quickness advantage so that'll be fun to watch play out. But how this game goes will depend on what FSU's backcourt can do on the road.

Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes can be excellent at times, but Rathan-Mayes is as inconsistent as they come. He had 21 points in that first game (second-highest total of season), but it's important to note he had added motivation as he was one of the first players Grayson Allen tripped. If that same Rathan-Mayes shows up, the Seminoles will keep this game close. If not, everything will come down to what Bacon does and how well Jefferson deals with FSU's bigs in the paint.

If Allen doesn't play, that would obviously be a factor as well, but Luke Kennard has shown he can do whatever it takes for Duke to win, especially when given the opportunity. Without Allen on the court, he's given that opportunity. Still, it's hard to look past the recent loss to Miami in which both Tatum and Kennard struggled to make shots. When that happens, this team can lose to anyone in the ACC. Jefferson could make the difference for the Blue Devils in the rematch and while Allen may not play, it really depends on what Florida State team shows up. The 'Noles can be great, but rarely have shown that away from home this season.

Our Pick - Note - Our model has Duke by about 7 here, however, the game is off the board as of Tuesday morning due to injuries on the Duke side.

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