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Next Up - Florida State

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Call it a hunch, but our guess is that after losing two years in a row in
Tallahassee, and the near loss in Durham earlier this season, Duke will go down
to play Florida State with a bit of an attitude.

If you pay attention to what's going on, through the media and comments
coaches and players make, you can kind of get an idea of what the current
thinking is. Both Chris Duhon and Daniel Ewing have said they view this as a
really big game. We also can look at the past and reckon, fairly, that
Coach K applies the lessons from losses to the current game and usually, the
lessons are learned.

There have been a few long streaks against Duke - Wake Forest had one, which
more or less coincided with Tim Duncan's time there, and UNC has had their share
of success against Duke over the years. Typically, though, when Krzyewski
turns the tables, they stay turned for a while. You may have heard the
story of how Ralph Sampson's Virginia beat Duke by 43 points in the ACC
Tournament, then said Duke played dirty. Someone said "here's to
forgetting tonight," and Coach K shot back, "here's to never
forgetting tonight."

There's a distinction, though, between dwelling on revenge and learning from
failure, and Duke has generally opted to learn. After that Virginia loss,
Duke didn't lose to UVa again for several years.

So what to expect tonight? Well, first and foremost, an intense
defensive game. Florida State is forging an identity as a powerful
defensive team, and Duke has emphasized defense for all of Coach K's

Offensively, for Duke Daniel Ewing has picked a good time to get his groove
back. He and Redick are both shooting well, and Shelden Williams has
really come on in the post. Deng is the wild card to an extent. He's
carved out a role on this team which is in a sense deferential, because he'll do
pretty much anything - rebound, play defense, chase loose balls - basically
whatever the team needs at the time is what he'll do. About the only
weakness we've seen in his game is that physical teams sometimes cow him a bit,
but he's gotten better about that as well.

And Chris Duhon continues to play a superb floor game, controlling the pace,
protecting and distributing the ball, and keeping his teammates together.

Lately, Duke has also gotten superb defense and energy from Sean Dockery. He
just destroyed Maryland when he was in in the first half, and has the capacity
to do that to just about anyone. Shavlik Randolph has earned Coach K's
praise for playing like a basketball player, as opposed to a big guy who plays
basketball. He's also capable of very disruptive defense. And Nick Horvath
has also played well when he's in.

Defensively, the key to beating FSU is to stop, or at least disrupt, Tim
Pickett. Duke can go at him with Deng, Ewing, or possibly Dockery.

After the last couple of years, we're hesitant to make predictions about this
road game. But we will say this: if you see Duke diving after loose balls
in the opening minutes, and really pushing hard defensively, then they're
ready. As it has been lately, it should be a tight and exciting game,
with, we hope, a different outcome.