There are 10 consensus 5* recruits on ACC rosters, and Duke (12-1) has five of them. To begin conference play, Florida State has to play them at their place.
It begins with Marvin Bagley III, who may be the most unique player in college basketball. Were there not dumb rules preventing him from entering the workforce at a time of his choosing, he would have been in the conversation for the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA draft. Bagley is 6-11, and is a generational talent. He’s ridiculously athletic, can guard all five positions, can play inside or out, and by all accounts is a great teammate. Through 13 games of his freshman (and only) season, he’s averaging 21.1 points and 10.9 rebounds.
Senior Grayson Allen is the only non-freshmen and non-5* in the starting lineup (he was the 2nd highest rated 4* in his class). ESPN has pulled all the stops on the Grayson Allen Redemption Tour, and to date, he’s yet to do anything really dumb. Despite his well-earned reputation for being a jackass, his on-court skills have continued to develop. Surrounded by the top young players in the nation, he’s making 45% of his 3s and scoring 17.1 per game.
In case Bagley and Allen weren’t enough of a handful, they also have 6-10 Wendell Carter, who was the No. 7 recruit in last year’s class. Carter does most of his work on the interior (though he’s made 50% of his 3s), scoring 13.7 to go along with 8.4 rebounds.
Point guard Trevon Duval was rated one spot higher than Carter, and though teams are backing off him on the perimeter and allowing him to shoot whenever he wants, he’s scoring 11.7 per game, and records a team high 6.8 assists.
Sharpshooter Gary Trent (hey, another 5*) rounds out the scoring with 13.7 per game.
It’s no surprise that Duke’s offense is rated No. 1 in the nation. No team has held them anywhere close to a point per possession. They rarely turn it over. They shoot really well. And when they do miss, they’re the best offensive rebounding team in the nation.
For FSU to have a shot, this will need to be a shootout.
Luckily, Duke’s defense isn’t that good.
They’re 70th nationally, and most of the problem has been that they’re only an average defensive rebounding team, and don’t force a lot of turnovers. So it’s tough to string together a bunch of stops. Of course, four of the five starters are freshmen, so this will likely change as the season progresses.
Duke somehow managed to lose their ACC opener at Boston College. The reason is because BC went nuts from deep. FSU will likely have to reproduce BC’s success to have a real shot at the upset.
The keys for Florida State will be to take care of the ball, rebound on both ends, and knock down 3s.
The game tips Saturday afternoon at 2 PM from Durham, and will be broadcast on CBS. No Vegas line has been release, but I’m expecting the Seminoles to be roughly 11-point underdogs.