Previewing Florida State

Previewing the Seminoles and Blue Devils who will tip off on Wednesday night in Tallahassee. The game will be broadcast nationally by ESPN beginning at 9:00 PM EST.

Florida State (11-5) vs. Duke (15-0)
Tallahassee, Fla. -- Donald L. Tucker Center
TV: ESPN 9:00 PM EST (Dan Shulman & Dick Vitale)

Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton (8th Year)
Record at Florida State: 142-101
Career v. Duke: 3-9

Projected Starters:
? 5 Bernard James (6-10, 240 Jr.) – 7.3 ppg, 2.3 bpg
31 Chris Singleton (6-9, 225, Jr.) – 15.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg
4 Deividas Dulkys (6-5, 195, Sr.) – 8.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg
21 Michael Snaer (6-5, 225, So.) – 7.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg
22 Derwin Kitchen (6-4, 205, Sr.) – 9.5 ppg, 3.7 apg

Top Reserves:
3 Luke Loucks (6-5, 205, Jr.) – 3.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg
50 Jon Kreft (7-0, 260, Jr.) – 2.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg
10 Okaro White (6-8, 195, Fr.) - 6.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg
15 Terrance Shannon (6-8, 220, So.) - 4.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
30 Ian Miller (6-3, 190, Fr.) - 4.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg

Series History: This will be the 37th meeting between the two programs with the Blue Devils holding a commanding 30-6 advantage in the previous match-ups. Duke has won the last five games and 10 of the last 12 dating back to February 4, 2007 when Florida State upset Duke at home by a 68-67 margin.

In games played at Florida State the Blue Devils have won 12 of 17 and two straight dating back to a 79-76 Noles victory on March 1, 2006. The two teams usually play a close, hotly contested game with 10 of the last 15 contests being decided by 10 points or less.

A season ago the Blue Devils once again found themselves in a battle as the Seminoles owned the glass, out-rebounding Duke 40-30 to pull within four at the nine minute mark. However, the Duke defense responded by forcing 22 turnovers which sparked a late 15-4 run which proved to be the difference down the stretch as the Devils earned a 70-56 victory behind 20 points from Kyle Singler.

The Seminoles are no stranger to beating the nation's top ranked team. Especially when it is Duke. Three times in school history the Noles have beaten the nation's top ranked team. Twice it's been Duke. The first time was in 2002 under Steve Robinson. The second time was the 2006 game under Hamilton.

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"They have a lot of rich tradition. They have some great players and they do a great job coaching their kids. There is certainly very little room for error when you play a team of this quality." - Leonard Hamilton On Duke

"One thing that I have been concerned with is that we are shooting the ball very well from the perimeter in practice. We have got to find a way to transfer it into the games, so we will continue to make our practices as much game-like as possible." - Hamilton on his team's shooting

Season To Date: Florida State enters Wednesday night's game needing a spark. The Seminoles have lost three of their last four contests to drop to 11-5 on the season and 1-1 in conference play. After dropping back to back decisions against Florida (by 4) and No. 2 Ohio State (by 14), FSU reeled off five straight wins over Hartford, Stetson, Clemson, Loyola Marymount, and Hawaii. Then the wheels started to rattled a bit as Butler took down FSU 67-64. FSU rebounded to defeat Baylor by seven, but have since lost back to back road games to Auburn and Virginia Tech.

Singler v. Singleton: The Blue Devils rely heavily on their combo forward, Kyle Singler who is considered among the nation's top players. Likewise the Seminoles rely heavily on their best player (who also plays the four spot), Chris Singleton. The junior forward has upped his game of late for Florida State, averaging 21.8 points and 9.3 rebounds over the last four contests. Much like Singler, Singleton uses his height to see and shoot over smaller defenders and has responded this year with a 52 percent shooting clip from the perimeter. During his last four contests Singleton is shooting 53 percent from the field having made 30 of 57 attempts (an average of 14.3 shots per game).

While his offense has been very good, Singleton's defense may be that much better. He has lead the ACC in steals in each of the last two seasons, logging 109 thefts in 48 ames. Since the start of last year, he has recorded multiple steals in 36 of those 48 games. Having played a total of 83 games, Singleton has recorded a steal in 73 of those contests.

Getting His Chance: After an injury to Xavier Gibson opened a spot in the starting lineup, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton tagged Bernard James as the man to fill out the first five. The junior had played in every game this season, but has upped his averages tremendously over the last four starts. During those games James is producing 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocked shots while shooting 63 percent from the field.

Blue Collar Specialists: A calling card for the Seminoles over the last few years has been the team's ability to control the boards no matter the opponent. A year ago they did it in a big way against the Blue Devils, winning the rebounding matchup 40-30. This season the Noles appear to be even better on the boards, averaging a 10 year high of 41.9 rebounds per contest. Florida State has won the rebounding battle in nine straight games and have out-rebounded 14 of their 16 opponents thus far this season. The team leads the ACC with a +8.2 rebounding margin.

When the Noles aren't beating their opponents on the glass, they are harassing them on the ball and have recorded 143 steals in just 16 games - an average of 8.93 per contest. FSU has recorded double-digit thefts in six of those contests and nearly set the school record for steals in a game against UNCG when they recorded 20. Against the two ACC opponents the team has averaged 8.0 steals per game.

Rebounding and steals are only part of the blue collar approach to the game for Hamilton's crew. The third component is protecting the rim and Florida State can do that as well. The team averages 6.8 blocked shots per game and have swatted 10 or more attempts four different times this year including 10 rejections against Ohio State. The team has recorded seven blocks or more nine times this year and have blocked more shots than their opponents in 15 of the 16 games.

Duke Noteables: The Blue Devils will be looking to move to 16-0 (3-0 ACC) on the season against Florida State, but there are some additional notes worth following:

  • Mike Krzyzewski continues to inch closer and closer to his coaching mentor, Bobby Knight on the list of all-time winningest coaches. Krzyzewski enters the game with 883 career victories.
  • The Blue Devils have won 25 consecutive games dating back to a 79-72 loss at Maryland on March 3, 2010. Duke has won 33 of its last 34 games overall.
  • The Blue Devils are looking to open the season 16-0 for just the fourth time in school history. Duke teams won the first 16 games of the season in 2005-06, 1991-92 and 1985-86. The best starts in school history are 17-0 openings to the 2005-06 and 1991-92 seasons.
  • Senior Nolan Smith is the only player in the NCAA averaging at least 19.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game for the season. Smith has an ACC-best four games with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.
  • Freshman Tyler Thornton came off the bench to collect a season-best four steals against Maryland. The Blue Devils have now had eight different players record three or more steals in a game this season.
  • Duke has been ranked in the AP Poll an NCAA-best 68 straight weeks. The Blue Devils have been ranked in the top 10 for the last 65 weeks, including 11 weeks at No. 1.
  • Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler are averaging 46.6 points combined over the last four games. The senior tandem has accounted for 55.1 percent of the Duke offense in that span.


The Tucker Center has proven to be a less than hospitable place for the Blue Devils to play over the years. If the Seminoles weren't beating Duke at home, they were certainly pushing them to the limit. Against Maryland there were real concerns inside as the Terps' Jordan Williams had a field day in the paint. While none of the Florida State big men are as gifted on the offensive end as Williams, they are just as relentless in doing the little things. The Seminoles will look to control the boards in a big way which will call upon Mason and Miles Plumlee to rebound and, in Mason's case, stay out of foul trouble. To counter the Noles' likely result on the glass, Duke will need to win the turnover battle. It shouldn't be too difficult as FSU enters the game averaging 17.3 turnovers per game. Only two players in the rotation have positive assist to turnover rations (Derwin Kitchen at 1.8/1 and Luke Loucks at 1.2/1). If Duke can force turnovers and stay respectable on the glass, the Blue Devils should be able to pull this game out.

Duke - 76
Florida State - 64

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