NCAA FB: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Florida State -2. Total: 156.5
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 Monday 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. But 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.