ACC Tournament Semifinals
3:00 PM Eastern on ESPN
NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
It shouldn’t be considered a surprise that two top teams in the ACC split during the regular season. The surprising part was the fact that both teams won on the road. The teams will meet for a third time in Greensboro on Saturday afternoon to see who can reach the ACC Tournament title game. Both teams have tons of potential, but each of them have struggled with consistency. Who will come out on top in this one?
Florida State had a nice run in the NCAA Tournament before being knocked out by VCU in the Sweet Sixteen last year. The Seminoles are looking to improve on last year’s performance this season. This is a team that wins because of their terrific defense. Opponents shoot just 38% against Florida State. Bernard James averages 2.3 blocks per game, and he alters a ton of shots in the paint. The Seminoles are very aggressive defensively. Seven guys on this team have at least 20 steals this year.
Michael Snaer leads the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game. He shoots 41% from beyond the arc, and he knocks down 85% of his free throws. Bernard James is really the Seminoles only consistent scorer in the blocks. James averages 10.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Luke Loucks is a senior leader who distributes the ball well. He leads the team in assists with 124. Florida State is inconsistent on the offensive end, but they’ll need to have a solid effort in this one if they are going to beat the Blue Devils.
Duke always has a tough time with Virginia Tech, and Friday night’s 60-56 win over the Hokies certainly wasn’t easy. The Blue Devils normally rely heavily on three-point shooting, but they made just 5 out of 26 attempted three’s last night. Instead, it was the Duke defense that came up big at the end of the game.
Austin Rivers has as much talent as any guard in the country. Sometimes he gets a quick trigger and that can hurt the team, but he has the ability to carry the team when he is hot. Rivers leads the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game. Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly, and Andre Dawkins all shoot 40% from beyond the arc. This is a team that can score in bunches because of their shooting ability. Unfortunately, Kelly is out for the ACC Tournament with a foot injury. Mason Plumlee had a double-double last night, and he has been big for the Blue Devils in the last few games. Duke averages 78.1 points per game. The team has struggled on the defensive end at times this year, and opponents are averaging 69 points per contest.
I really think Florida State has a chance to win this game because of their terrific defense. I’ll take the Seminoles in a bit of an upset.
Prediction: Florida State 70 Duke 68
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