ACC Championship Preview: Duke Hopes Third Time Is Not the Charm for FSU

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ACC Championship Preview: Duke Hopes Third Time Is Not the Charm for FSU

Duke and Florida State meet to decide who will win the ACC Tournament Championship for 2009. The Blue Devils have knocked off the Seminoles twice this season and will be looking for their eighth ACC Tournament title in 11 years. FSU on the other hand is in the Championship Game for the first time since joining the ACC back in the early 90s.

Season Meetings

Duke 66 FSU 58 Jan 10 Tallahassee

In the first meeting of the season, the teams had a combined 33 points at half time. FSU was held to 31 percent shooting for the game, but was able to control the boards 43 to 34. Where Duke won the game was at the free throw line making 25 to FSU's 11.

Duke 84 FSU 81 Mar 3 Durham

On March 3, Toney Douglas' 27 was not enough for the road win for FSU. Once again, Duke hit 22 from the line to the 'Noles 13. The Blue Devils had just seven turnovers and closed the rebounding gap to just 39-36 in FSU's favor. Freshman Elliot Williams, who played sparingly in game one, scored 14 off the bench.

Florida State Seminoles Keys to Victory

1. Use Inside Size Advantage

Unless Duke's Brian Zoubek channels Christian Laettner, his size inside is a non-factor. FSU has a clear size advantage inside and needs to pound it in on offense, intimidate on defense, and control the glass.

2. Toney Douglas Gets Hot

The best scorer in the ACC needs to be hot from the outside for FSU to pull off the upset. Also, Douglas needs to slash to the goal and pick up some fouls to even up the likely free throw disparity.

Duke Blue Devils Keys to Victory

1. Hit 3's

Nearly half of their field goals made in beating FSU and then BC and Maryland in the ACC Tournament were from three point range. This will help draw out FSU's bigger defenders where they are not as comfortable.

2. Get to the Free Throw Line

The best Duke can do with the size disparity inside is to try and get the big guys into foul trouble. Outside of the three point shots, FSU can block anything inside 15 feet from Duke. The Blue Devils need to be able to drive to the basket with success and get to the free throw line.

Prediction

I think this one is going to be back and forth all second half. One the one hand, it will be tough for Duke to beat FSU three times in a year. They did it to Maryland, but the 'Noles are better than the Terps. But Duke is so good in this ACC Tournament winning seven of the last eight times they were in the finals.

Pick: Duke

Season: 38-29 SU through 3/14

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