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Next Up - Florida State

A good one on tap tonight

Duke v Florida State
Don’t think Florida State has forgotten about last year’s buzzer beater.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Duke beat Carolina Saturday in one of the most memorable wins in the history of the rivalry. The shame is that there’s no time to enjoy it because Florida State is in town Monday night and that game is no joke either.

  • Time: 7:00
  • Date: 2/10
  • Venue: Cameron
  • Video: ESPN

Florida State is deep, talented and in general a load. And they may be the hottest team in the ACC.

FSU has only lost three times this year - in the opener to Pitt, then in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge to Indiana on December 8th and most recently to Virginia.

All three games were on the road for what that’s worth.

FSU has won 12 of its last 13 and is now 10-2 in the conference and 20-3 overall.

Leonard Hamilton has a deep roster with 10 guys getting double-digit minutes and Wyatt Wilkes 9.8.

FSU’s most dangerous offensive player is Devin Vassell, who can really go off. In a different system he might average 20-25 ppg. He’s pretty thin though, weighing just 180.

Trent Forrest runs the team and as a senior point guard he’s a real luxury. That’s not common anymore.

Like Forrest, MJ Walker feels like he’s been around forever. A junior now, he’s a classic Hamilton recruit, a solid run-jump athlete who can occasionally take over a game for a time.

Freshman Patrick Williams, a 6-8 forward from Charlotte, has been a real revelation. He’s been a dominant player at times and is highly athletic. We’re a little surprised UNC or NC State didn’t work him harder than they apparently did when he was being recruited. You’ll want to keep an eye on him.

Anthony Polite, RaiQuan Gray, Malik Osborne and RayQuan Evans are the shock troops off the bench. They’re all capable offensively but the real point is to keep up the defensive pressure.

And as we’ve noted over the years, Hamilton loves to have a big body or two in the lane. This time it’s two Eastern Europeans: Balsa Koprivica and Dominik Olejniczak.

They're both enormous. Grad student transfer Olejniczak is 7-0 and 260 while freshman Koprivica is the same weight and an inch taller. That’s a lot of beef inside for Vernon Carey to deal with.

At this point in the season there aren’t many mysteries. FSU is going to try to pressure Duke into lots of mistakes. Duke is coming off a road win which was physically and mentally draining.

Getting up for another big game two days later is just brutal. It’s brutal emotionally because matching Saturday emotionally will be almost impossible. And while Duke’s rotation is freshened with Wendell Moore reincorporated, Tre Jones played 42 minutes Saturday. That makes Monday tougher still.

However, no one else played more than Cassius Stanley’s 36 minutes and that’s partially down to Moore.

As we’ve said before, his versatility changes a lot. He overlaps in size with Stanley, Jack White, Alex O’Connell and Joey Baker and he overlaps with all four of them in skills and also with Jones, Jordan Goldwire and Matthew Hurt as well.

And he’s one of Duke’s better defenders. When you have Moore on the court with Jones and Stanley or Goldwire or any combination thereof, you have, again, lots of options and flexibility.

Given the short turnaround, it’s good that this game is in Cameron. It’s likely to be a grinder too and we don’t mean like playing Virginia. We mean that it’s going to be a really hard game for both teams, probably very fast and certainly intense defensively.

We’re a little concerned about Carey dealing with the huge guys inside. We’ve always somewhat derided Hamilton’s love of big slow post players but they do what he wants which is to clog things up and the other guys can help too.

What we’d like to see is a good fast start, preferably with some steals, some breaks and some threes.

Given the guts this team has shown though, we’re pretty sure that whatever happens, they’ll play hard.

By the way, don't think FSU has forgotten about Cam Reddish’s buzzer beater last year.