Preview: Duke (18-4) v. Florida State (16-6)

Previewing the Blue Devils and Seminoles who tip off in Cameron on Sunday afternoon. The game is scheduled to begin shortly after 2:00 EST and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports as part of their annual ACC Sunday Hoops package.


10 Duke (18-4, 5-3) vs. Florida State (16-6, 4-4)
Durham, N.C. - Cameron Indoor Stadium
2:00 p.m., ESPN

Program Vitals
Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference
Nickname: Seminoles
Colors: Garnet & Gold
Head Coach:  Leonard Hamilton  (5th year)
Career Record at Clemson: 81-64 (271-274 Overall) 

Projected Starters:
 3 Isaiah Swann (6-2, 205, Jr.) - 9.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.3 apg
25 Jason Rich (6-3, 205, Jr.) – 11.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.5 apg
12 Al Thornton (6-8, 230, Sr.) – 18.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg
41 Uche Echefu (6-9, 225, So.) – 7.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg
23 Toney Douglas (6-1, 200, So.) – 13.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.7 apg

Key Reserves:
10 Ralph Mims (6-3, 211, Jr.) - 5.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.4 apg
11 Jerel Allen (6-4, 201, Sr.) – 5.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.2 apg
15 Casaan Breeden (6-8, 200, So.) – 3.7 ppg, 1.2 rpg
42 Ryan Reid (6-8, 230, Fr.) – 2.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg

Storylines:

How They Got Here: After reeling off five straight victories in conference, the Blue Devils collapsed down the stretch on Thursday night in Charlottesville, as the Cavaliers won in overtime, 68-66. The loss dropped Duke to 5-3 in the ACC, with a much tougher second half schedule looming. The Seminoles, on the other hand, have rebounded from an 0-3 conference start to win four of their last five ACC games.

Series History:
Saturday afternoon will mark the 31st time the two teams have met, with Duke holding a 25-5 advantage in the series. The Seminoles did, however, win the last meeting on March 1, 2006 as Al Thornton scored 26 points and pulled down six rebounds as Florida State defeated No. 1 ranked Duke, 79-74 in Tallahassee. However, the Seminoles have never won in Durham - the only conference gym in which they've never tasted victory.

Injury Report: Neither team has any significant injuries of note heading into Sunday's game.

Thornton Owns the Blue Devils:
Even with the National Defensive Player of the Year manning the post a seaosn ago, Florida State's Al Thornton was a man amongst boys in the two games with Duke. The 6'8 All Conference candidate averaged a double-double of 31.5 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting .468 (22-of-47) from the field and .947 (18-of-19) from the line in two games against Duke during the 2005-06 season. Thornton scored his career-high of 37 points in the Seminoles' 79-74 victory over No. 1 Duke on March 1, 2006 in Tallahassee.

Thornton joined Duke's Josh McRoberts on the mid-season Wooden Award Top 30 list recently and has three double-doubles in eight ACC games this season. He leads the ACC in scoring in ACC games only (23.0 ppg), is shooting nearly 89 percent from the line against ACC competition, is shooting a career-high .556 from the field and has blocked a career-high 25 shots in the first 22 games of the season. Thornton also leads the ACC with 11 games of 20 or more points scored in a game.

Don't Send Them To the Line:
If it's a tight game down the stretch, Duke will be in an awful situation when determining which Seminole player to foul. To date the 'Noles have shot better than 70 percent from the line in 19 of its 22 games this season, enters Sunday's game against Duke ranked third in the nation and first in the ACC in free throw shooting percentage with a .784 mark.

Seminoles Have Beaten The Big Boys:
The Blue Devils' lofty national ranking of 10th in the latest polls won't impress Florida State at all. That's because the 'Noles have faced the nation's top ranked, second ranked, and third ranked teams already in 2006-2007. Florida State defeated top ranked Florida, and has lost to Wisconsin and North Carolina. In total the Seminoles have faced six ranked teams on the season - posting a 2-4 records against those teams.

Blue Devils Will Need More From Backcourt:
Duke will look to shake off an offensive streak that included nearly nine minutes without a field goal to end the game against Virginia on Thursday night. One of the main causes for the lack of scoring was the first poor offensive outings of both backcourt starters - Greg Paulus and Jon Scheyer. The duo combined to shoot just 6-of-20 from the field, including 3-of-13 from the perimeter in a combined 74 minutes of action. Previously the pair had been combining for roughly 30 points per night while shooting nearly 45% from the field in league play.

The Road Gets Bumpy From Here:
The game against Florida State marks the beginning of the second half of the ACC schedule in which Duke will face off against six teams - all of whom are legitimate NCAA Tournament squads. After facing the Seminoles at home, Duke will host the ACC's top team - arch rival North Carolina before hitting the road against Maryland and Boston College. It's a four game stretch against teams with a combined 18-12 conference mark. With just a 5-3 mark in the first part of the season, the Blue Devils can ill-afford to a bevvy of poor results if earning a top five regional seed is to be expected in March.

Redick Honored
Former Duke great and current member of the Orlando Magic, J.J. Redick will have his number retired at a halftime ceremony on Sunday afternoon. Redick owns the school and ACC scoring records and ranks 16th in NCAA history with 2,769 career points. A prolific scorer, Redick is second among the NCAA's all-time leaders in free throw percentage (.912) and stands fourth on Duke's career chart and 18th in ACC history with a .406 (457-of-1126) three-point field goal percentage. He holds the NCAA career record with 457 three-point field goals made. The Roanoke, Va., native reached double digits in scoring 122 times as a collegian. He owns Duke career records in scoring (2,769), three-point field goals made (457), three-point attempts (1,126), free throw percentage (.912), most 20-point games (70), most 30-point games (20) and most 40-point games (3). A three-time All-America honoree, Redick earned National Player of the Year recognition in 2005 (Rupp Award) and 2006 (Wooden, Naismith, Associated Press, USBWA, NABC, Rupp, Basketball Times).

Prediction:

Duke 73
Florida State 70


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