While it seemed that Florida State and Duke might live up to recent standards of the rivalry, as it turned out, Duke hammered the Seminoles in memorable fashion Saturday afternoon.
Who broke out the Wheaties? it's as good an explanation for what Duke did on the board as anything this side of Clark Kent: the Devils not only out rebounded FSU, the Devils had more offensive boards than FSU had total: 27 offensive to 24 total for Florida State.
Duke finished with 47 overall - almost exactly double what Florida State managed.
But then break it down a bit:
Jabari Parker finished with 14/10. Rodney Hood, who left the court for the first four minutes, had 9/3. Marshall Plumlee had 7, all offensive. Amile Jefferson finished with 6/3.
Duke's starting front line finished with 29; their third string center had seven offensive boards.
Florida State's traditional bugaboo under Leonard Hamilton, turnovers, turned up again as the ‘Noles had 17.
Duke shot just 30.5% to Florida State's 50%, but between the rebounds and the steals Duke had a big advantage, one which was bumped up even more by free throws.
Florida State was 10-18 for 55%, while Duke was 34-43 for 79.1%.
So in other words, Duke had a 24 point advantage from the line, which neatly accounts for all but a two-point advantage.
If this was Maryland, there would have been epic whining up and down the East Coast and you can make what you want of the clean-up of officiating and Saturday's work by the zebras. For our part, we saw an intensely physical team and when you are that physical, the calls will follow.
FSU also got two flagrants (elbows) and one intentional.
At the beginning of the game, it didn't seem likely that Duke would crush the Seminoles. But at a certain point, Coach K took his emotions to a different level and the team went with him: during an early time out, K ripped off his jacket and slammed a chair to the floor and the message was evidently received.
There was a lot to like about this game, not least of all Marshall Plumlee's performance. Increasingly, Plumlee is coming across as a guy you don't want to mess with too much. He's a lot meaner than brother Miles, who was pretty laid back at Duke, and middle brother Mason, who took some time to get aggressive.
That's not a problem with Marshall, who, come to think of it, has spent his life banging against two older brothers who were unwilling to cut him much slack. His tough-guy persona was probably shaped by his brothers.
Marshall appeared willing to go toe-to-toe with anyone on FSU's squad, although he might think twice before tangling with Michael Ojo, who is one of the biggest people we've ever seen. His feet are enormous, and on Twitter, Duke partisans were stunned by, among other things, the size of his head, which is about twice the size of Rodney Hood's.
Actually, you can point to improvement in the entire sophomore class. Rodney Hood could easily be a one-dimensional player. He's not; his defense and rebounding have improved tremendously.
Rasheed Sulaimon, who started so slowly, has come on like gangbusters and is playing as well as anyone on the team. He's growing by leaps and bounds now, playing with immense confidence and passion. Amile Jefferson has become a solid rebounder and a leader. And now Plumlee is making a mark.
Personnel wise, the sophomores are making a huge difference. But as a group, Duke has embraced defense and toughness, and it's been fun to watch Parker reinvent his role as a take-it-to-the rack guy who's not scared of anyone.
We'll see a lot more this coming week as Duke makes back-to-back trips to Pitt and Syracuse. We look forward to seeing if the reinvention of the team continues.