by Aengus Moorehead
Seminoles: 16-11 SU,10-15-1 ATS
Blue Devils: 20-7 SU,13-12-1 ATS
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 25, 2016
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
After a four-game grueling stretch in which they had to measure themselves against ranked teams and proved their worth in the process, the Duke Blue Devils will seemingly sense some sort of respite as they face a Florida State Seminoles squad who have yet to taste victory in their last four outings.
However, nothing has come easy for the defending NCAA Champion in a season marred by injuries, inconsistencies and the flagrant fact that every opponents they face want the upend this perineal contender’s status into oblivion while adorning their own merits.
Florida State will either put in a last-ditched effort for its tourney run or the downfall will continue. The Seminoles have lost their last two road games by double digits, 10 points at Virginia Tech and 13 at Syracuse. They have given up at least 80 points in three of their last four losses and that's going to be the main issue in this matchup.
Duke has been playing almost the opposite as of late, winning five of its last six games. The Blue Devils fell at Louisville on Saturday, mostly due to only having six players (Matt Jones injured) and Grayson Allen fouling out with roughly four minutes to go. Jones is expected to play in this game with a sprained ankle, as is Derryck Thornton.
Duke is one of the highest scoring teams in the nation with two guys that can score almost easily on any defense. Grayson Allen is in consideration for ACC player of the year and he's had 52 points over the last two games. FSU just let Seth Allen, a similar, but shorter guard than Allen, go for 23 points in its last game.
In addition to Allen, who'll likely play 40 minutes, Brandon Ingram should be in for a comeback game. He struggled against Louisville, scoring eight points to go with 10 turnovers. That came after a game in which he dropped 45 points and 17 boards in the prior two combined.
Florida State has a bit of size and will likely use the 6-8 Montay Brandon on Ingram. However, Brandon has struggled mightily of late and has become a complete non-factor for this team offensively in his senior season. The scoring will come down to four guys for the 'Noles with Mailk Beasley and Dwayne Bacon leading the way.
The two freshmen combine for 31.9 points per game and will need to reach those averages for FSU to have a shot. Because of minimal depth for Duke, expect them to turn to zone a good portion of the time, which means the Seminoles will need to hit their shots. The problem is that none of their players shoot better than 40% from deep, and Bacon is at just 28.3% from 3. If they aren't hitting those shots, this could be a long game.
Florida State Seminoles vs. Duke Blue Devils Early Odds & Betting Lines
Live NCAA Tournament Odds & Scores - Click here
Duke lost its last outing, a 71-64 result against Cardinals on February 20. They earned a push in that game as a +7-point underdog.
Florida State was a 83-73 loser in their most recent outing on the road against Hokies. They failed to cover the -3.5-point spread as favorites.
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Florida State Seminoles vs. Duke Blue Devils Betting Trends
Current Streak: lost 4 straight games.
Florida State is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
Florida State is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Florida State's last 7 games
Duke is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Duke's last 7 games
Duke is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games at home
Florida State home to Notre Dame Saturday, February 27
Duke at Pittsburgh Sunday, February 28
This banged up and young Duke team has played so many close games in a row and I predict another one is in the cards against a much bigger and athletic Seminoles’ side. FSU may not have enough to win outright against Duke but they do have the personnel to keep this one a tight affair. Take Florida State +9 and the under 156½.
Aengus NCAA College Basketball Prediction and Pick: Florida State +9 at Mybookie
derryck thornton - duke blue devils - dwayne bacon - florida state seminoles - grayson allen - grayson allen - mailk beasley - matt jones