Durham, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Two teams looking to remain within striking distance in the ACC collide this weekend, as the Florida State Seminoles invade Cameron Indoor Stadium to battle the 18th-ranked Duke Blue Devils.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils are 15-4 on the season and 4-2 in conference play. Duke opened the league slate with two losses in the first three games, but has righted the ship with three straight victories, including a 67-46 rout on the road at Miami-Florida on Wednesday.
Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles are also 4-2 in the conference with wins in four of their last five games. The lone loss over that span was last weekend's 78-66 setback at Virginia, but the team gained a little distance from that loss with Tuesday's thrilling 76-74 victory over Notre Dame.
Duke holds a substantial 32-9 lead in the all-time series with Florida State.
Florida State's success is fueled by its strong play at the defensive end of the floor. The Seminoles boast of the nation's ninth best field-goal percentage defense (.376), while ranking 34th in the country in scoring defense (63.4 ppg). Offensively, FSU doesn't put up eye-popping scoring totals at a modest 73.3 ppg, but the team is efficient at that end, shooting .479 from the floor. Ian Miller hasn't started a single game this season, but remains the team's top scorer (13.3 ppg) and distributor (3.6 apg). Aaron Thomas has done most of his work off the bench as well, ranking a close second in the scoring column with 13.1 ppg. Okaro White provides balance in the frontcourt at 12.3 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds per game.
Miller converted a shot in the lane with just four seconds left on the clock, lifting the Seminoles to a two-point win over the Irish at home. Thomas got his first start of the season and made the most of it, leading the team with 20 points, on 6-of-10 shooting. White recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Miller and Devin Bookert chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Duke has thrived at both ends of the floor this season, showing the ability to win shootouts as well as defensive battles. The team is averaging a hefty 81.8 ppg, while allowing just 67.1. Freshman Jabari Parker has definitely lived up to the hype following him out of high school. The 6-foot-9 youngster leads Duke in scoring (18.9 ppg), rebounding (7.7 rpg) and blocked shots (23). Fellow forward Rodney Hood has also made a smooth transition to Duke in his first season with the team, pouring in 17.6 ppg, while shooting .521 from the floor overall, including .459 from behind the arc. Point guard Quinn Cook is the perfect facilitator for Coach K's squad, with the ability to find his own shot (12.8 ppg) and get others involved (5.6 apg).
The Blue Devils shot just .429 from the floor against the defensive-minded Hurricanes last time out, but beat Miami at its own game, holding the hometown team to a mere .354 effort, while dominating the glass to the tune of a 42-28 rebounding edge. Parker posted a double-double, finishing the game with 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Hood added 12 points, six rebounds and three assists in the victory.