March is here, and college basketball teams from across the country are playing for a conference title all while jockeying for positioning in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Florida State has positioned themselves extremely well, earning a top four seed and thus a double-bye in the ACC Tournament for a fourth time in the past five seasons. They are 2-0 in the quarterfinals in this situation coming off of a double-bye.
However, FSU currently does not know who they will be playing against on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. in Greensboro. The three teams in the Seminoles’ quadrant, Duke, Boston College, and Louisville, will battle it out on Tuesday and Wednesday while Florida State prepares to play the winner.
Here’s a review of all three teams and their history with FSU as the ACC Tournament gets underway this afternoon.
Duke Blue Devils (11-11 overall, 9-9 ACC)
No. 10 seed Duke takes on No. 15 seed Boston College at 4:30 p.m. on ACC Network on Tuesday. The Blue Devils aren’t very happy with the way their season has gone thus far, but their NCAA Tournament bubble hasn’t burst just yet if they can make a run.
Led by head coach Mike Krzyzewski in his 41st season, Duke has had an up and down year and suffered three different three-game losing streaks in ACC play. In a critical stretch to end the regular season, they lost two overtime games then followed that up with an 18-point defeat at rival North Carolina. 1st-Team All-ACC performer Matthew Hurt led the team in points and rebounds this season.
FSU and Duke had their regular season game postponed in January and did not play this year. If the Blue Devils win their next two games and reach FSU in the bracket, it will be the fourth time they will match up in the conference tournament.
In 2009, Kyle Singler and Duke topped FSU 79-69 in the ACC Championship despite 28 points from Toney Douglas. Florida State defeated Duke 62-59 in the semifinals in 2012 on the way to their lone tournament title. Everyone remembers the third matchup, a 73-63 defeat at the hands of Zion Williamson in the 2019 ACC Championship.
Of course, the coaching matchup in all three meetings was Krzyzewski vs FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton. Since Hamilton was hired in 2002-03, FSU is 7-20 overall in 27 meetings with Duke regular season or postseason. In the 23 games from 1992-2002, the Noles were just 3-20 against the blue blood program.
Boston College Eagles (4-15 overall, 2-11 ACC)
A cellar-dweller in the ACC, Boston College has had a terrible season and seventh-year head coach Jim Christian was relieved of his duties on Feb. 15. It is unlikely the Eagles could muster wins over Duke and Louisville, but if they did, it could be a huge break for Florida State.
Not only was BC dead-last in the conference this season, FSU also just played them last week. They of course won that game handily 93-64. Duke is favored by 13 points over Boston College in Tuesday afternoon’s first-round matchup.
In their lone prior ACC Tournament matchup, FSU shot 9-16 from three-point and blew out Boston College 88-66 in 2016. Including the regular season, Florida State is 13-7 all-time versus the Eagles.
Louisville Cardinals (13-6 overall, 8-5 ACC)
The No. 7 seed Cardinals will face the winner of Duke and Boston College on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on ACC Network. Louisville has hovered around the Top 25 and “others receiving votes” category all season and is comfortably within the NCAA field.
They were riding a five-game winning streak in January before being upset by Miami two days prior to falling at home to FSU 78-65. UL is led by Radford transfer and senior Carlik Jones, who averaged 17 points and over 4 assists a game.
FSU and Louisville have played 6 times against each other in conference tournaments, but just once in the ACC. The other 5 meetings came between 1978 and 1991 while in the Metro Conference.
Since the Cardinals beat Florida State 82-74 in the 2018 ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, FSU has won the last four against Louisville. Noles have the 6-4 advantage in the 10 overall ACC contests, but UL has a 34-15 all-time edge in the series.