Saturday, March 07, 2009

Duke 84, Florida St 81

Like many of you (at least those many of you who don't live in Raycom country) I did not get to see the Duke-FSU game on Tuesday. It looks like I missed a great contest. Duke again didn't shoot particularly well, but hit the big shots when it counted and again valued the basketball - the Devils committed just 7 turnovers, including none from 8:38 in the first half until Singleton tied up Scheyer on a late rebound with 13 seconds left. Nearly 3/4 of the game was turnover free basketball. When you do that, you put yourself in a fantastic position to win. The Devils also got after it on the defensive glass, holding FSU to just 26% offensive rebounding and denying their big front line easy second chance points.

There are both encouraging and discouraging take aways from this game. On the plus side, Scheyer, Singler, and Henderson all seem to be playing at their best. Each of the three is executing at a high level and showing a willingness to take over when the team needs them. The offense is also very strong of late - comfortably scoring over a point per possession and missing some of the nonslaughts that hurt them earlier this season. On the downside, this is still a team with defensive issues. FSU shot over 50% from the 2 and 8-17 from 3. The overall scoring defense wasn't terrible, considering it was a 75 possession game, but Duke really needs to find a way to stop teams from making shots.

Also of concern is the injury bug. Smith is still out with the concussion, Thomas has a bum ankle, Zoubek may (does?) have a broken nose. Miles Plumlee may get called upon to play a meaningful role against the Heels on Sunday since there's no one else to go big with.

Finally, for FSU, I can't be more impressed with Toney Douglas. All they've asked him to do is be their best player every single time they take the court, and all he's done is succeed. He's used over 25% of FSU's possessions in 14 of 15 conference games, and has produced more than a point per possession in 14 of 15 as well (he's the only guy in the ACC to post 14 100+ offensive rating games). The only team to hold him under was Duke in the first conference game of the year, when he shot 7 of 23 and committed 5 turns. The Noles have become better as a couple guys have stepped up to help him (Kitchen, Alabi, and Echefu), but the reason they're any good in the first place is because of Douglas.

Here's the HD Box from Tuesday:

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