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Next Up - FSU

Next Up - FSU

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Next up for Duke after the huge win over Notre Dame is a roadtrip to Tallahassee, a place where the Blue Devils have run into trouble before.

And Florida State has had some success this season, notably lately: since January 19th, FSU has beaten Clemson, Wake Forest, Miami and Virginia Tech, while losing to UNC by just four and to Clemson by six.

Florida State also presents some unique challenges for Jahlil Okafor.

Kiel Turpin is 7-0, 240, Boris Bojanovsky 7-3 and up to 240, while Michael Ojo is one of the few guys Okafor will give up serious size to at 7-1 and...290.

None of them have established themselves as even full-time starters, but no one else has a trio of guys that big, or, if you prefer, 15 heavyweight fouls to give up.

Leonard Hamilton also has some handy players of more normal size.

Freshman Phil Cofer starts at forward; he's 6-9 and 205, a bit thicker than Amile Jefferson was as a first-year player and not far off of where he is as a junior.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes has already established himself as a dangerous player; the 6-4 redshirt freshman is averaging 13.7 ppg and nearly five assists.

Devon Bookert is a sharp shooting guard, hitting 49% from the floor and surpassing even Virginia's Justin Anderson with 52.5% from three point range. He's averaging 10.2 ppg.

Finally Montay Brandon, a 6-7 native of Greensboro and like Bookert a junior, starts. He's averaging 12.8 ppg and 5.4 rpg. He's slender at 216 but has held his own. He's listed as a guard, but he's 6-7, which means he's big enough to go inside.

Florida State hit a nice peak a couple of years ago with Michael Snaer and company, ascending to the ACC title and NCAA play.

It hasn't gone as well since, and the 'Noles have long since parted ways with this year's would-be star Aaron Thomas, who was suspended for the season and decided to try his luck with professional basketball.

If you've looked at their record of 13-11, which is not impressive, you probably think this will be an easy game for Duke. And that's a possibility.

But we don't think so.

Notre Dame was an ecstatic expression of potential realized, of a team playing at a level of greatness.

As we've said before in other situations, you don't usually get two of those in a row. Duke will almost certainly not shoot above 80% in a half, and Florida State will not be as compliant in its own destruction as Notre Dame was Saturday.

You have to expect that Leonard Hamilton's team will play extremely hard, will defend with immense effort, and has unusual size to throw at Okafor. None of them are great, but all of them are taller than he is and they weigh 240, 240 and 292.

Scoring is irrelevant. What matters is wearing him down, leaning on him, trying to make him tired for the end.

Because if they accomplish that, and it's a tight game, then FSU has a real shot at an upset.

In order to avoid that, Duke will have to match Florida State's intensity. You might win this game by shooting well, but that's not something you should count on in Tallahassee.

To win there, you're going to have to get your hands dirty.