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Next Up - Florida State

Time: 7:00 || Venue: Cameron Indoor Stadium || Video: ESPN

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NCAA Basketball: Maine at Duke
Will they or won’t they? Amile Jefferson, left, and Grayson Allen may or may not be able to go on Tuesday.
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Next up is Duke’s final home game of the season. Is it us or did it rip by more quickly than usual this season?

Duke closes out Cameron with Florida State, a tough, athletic team that’s capable of beating just about any team in the country.

As has been the case in almost every game this season, Duke has injury issues and both Grayson Allen (ankle) and Amile Jefferson (still slowed by his bone bruise) will be game time decisions.

Florida State is one of the deepest teams in the country. With or without a full roster, this isn’t going to be an easy game.

Duke lost in Tallahassee on January 11th (okay, we take it back - actually that seems like a long time ago) 88-72.

Florida State has 10 guys getting double-digit minutes and one just shy of that.

Dwayne Bacon, Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jonathan Isaac are all likely to be in the NBA, possibly as soon as this summer. Terance Mann is also highly talented as are Phil Cofer, CJ Walker, Brian Angola-Rodas, PJ Savoy and Brandon Allen.

Michael Ojo is not hugely talented. He’s just huge, like Shaq-sized huge only with no meaningful body fat. Christ Koumadje is still developing but he is 7-4 and we did see him chase down a guy on a break earlier this season.

Chase Jeter played 25 minutes in that game in Tallahassee and played 17 in the following game. Then he had his own back injury and hasn’t played since.

It’s just been that sort of a year.

Actually we don’t think Duke’s ever had a year quite like this. This many injuries - it’s surreal. Matt Jones and Luke Kennard have been in every game but no one else has. Frank Jackson had an ankle injury and only missed one game but was slowed for some time.

Jefferson missed the FSU and Louisville games and his game hasn’t really gotten back to where it was as he’s been playing through pain.

Allen was suspended for one game but has been held out of two others, Maine in December and Miami this past weekend and has often been visibly limited. In his last four games, the normally explosive Allen has been limited to 32 points and has shot just 7-27 for 25.9%.

Jayson Tatum had an early ankle injury but has basically been fine since. His biggest problems have been finding a steady role amidst turbulence and normal freshman issues of judgment and discretion.

Marques Bolden has shown flashes but since his injury he hasn’t gotten nearly back to where he was.

Harry Giles was always expected to be slowed this season so no surprise there. His was the only expected injury other than Sean Obi’s and Obi hasn’t played a minute.

Javin DeLaurier has also had injury issues and hasn’t played since taking the court for a minute against NC State.

Toss in Coach K’s hiatus after back surgery and the whole situation is just crazy.

Yet Duke fights on and we expect they’ll fight on Tuesday too.

We can tell you from past experience that there will be no dwelling on misfortunes, no self-pity and no excuses.

Whoever plays on Tuesday will be expected to play hard and to get the job done.

Aside from everything else, it’s Senior Day and Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones and walk-on Nick Pagliuca will be honored. Nobody will want to let those guys down.

It won’t be an easy game but the very definition of Duke basketball is to give your all at all times. There may be too many problems, too many injuries to overcome, but you can be sure of this: Duke will play hard no matter who wears the Duke jerseys and no matter who the opponent is.

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