The Duke basketball team will be facing an NCAA Tournament-like test in facing the Florida State Seminoles on Monday night after the thrilling win over North Carolina on Saturday evening.
The best way to prepare for the NCAA Tournament? Play an NCAA Tournament-like schedule.
In the ‘Big Dance’ you play a game, have one day off, and then play another game in the same weekend with no travel required.
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The Duke Blue Devils will experience that same schedule on Monday night hosting the Florida State Seminoles only after having Sunday off after its emotional road victory over North Carolina on Saturday night.
Duke erased a late 13-point deficit to force overtime in heroic fashion only to outdo themselves in overtime by scoring seven points in the final 20 seconds to defeat North Carolina at the buzzer, 98-96.
Florida State had a win of its own on Saturday, but it was much less compelling in a 17-point victory at home over the Miami Hurricanes.
Leonard Hamilton has developed the Seminoles into one of the best programs in the ACC, yet the team does not receive the national recognition that other programs in the conference get.
Monday will be the one and only time Duke and Florida State meet in the regular season and it is the first time the two teams will be on the floor after the Blue Devils swept the season series last season, first on a dramatic buzzer beater from Cam Reddish in Tallahassee and then Duke downing Florida State in the ACC Tournament Championship.
The biggest issue in this game for Duke will be trying to match the depth of Florida State.
Hamilton played 16 players in the blowout on Saturday and 11 played over nine minutes with only one player, M.J. Walker, playing more than 24 minutes.
On the other hand, in Duke’s comeback overtime win the Blue Devils had three players log at least 30 minutes in Wendell Moore, Cassius Stanley, and Tre Jones. Jones led the team on Saturday with 42 minutes played and looked gassed at the end of overtime.
Duke was looked upon as one of the deepest teams in the country earlier in the season, but the five bench players have not all combined to play a great game since the win at Michigan State in December.
One player in particular who is going to have to play well is forward Matthew Hurt, who was removed from the starting lineup on Saturday and did not score in six minutes played while picking up four fouls.
There should be an advantage for Duke being at home with a very energized crowd for not only a Top-10 matchup but also due to what the Blue Devils just pulled off in Chapel Hill.
Tipoff is at 7:00pm EST in Cameron Indoor Stadium and fans can watch the game on ESPN.
PREDICTION: Duke 77, Florida State 70