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Duke's big men will have to be more competitive after Florida State outscored the Blue Devils 56-28 ...

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. Florida State



Duke will hope to stop its two-game skid when it returns home Tuesday night to face Florida State, which beat the Blue Devils 88-72 in January. Here are three keys for Duke to come away from Senior Night with a win.

Control the paint

The Blue Devils have struggled to defend the interior during ACC play. Duke was outscored 40-20 in the paint Saturday against Miami, and was dominated by Florida State 56-28 when the teams met in Tallahassee, Fla. Amile Jefferson will still be limited by a foot injury that kept him out of the teams' last matchup, but if he plays, his presence should make a difference.

On the other side of the ball, the Blue Devils have been excellent on the offensive glass in their last two contests, outrebounding Syracuse and Miami by 12 and eight, respectively, on the offensive boards. In order for Duke to break out of its slump, the Blue Devils will have to take advantage of second opportunities and neutralize the Seminoles in the paint.

Get to and convert at the free throw line

The Blue Devils struggled to shoot the ball during their two-game road slump and converted on less than 40 percent of their shots during that span. In order to take pressure off the jump shooters, Duke needs to drive and get Florida State in foul trouble to get to the bonus early in both halves. The Blue Devils did an excellent job of this against Syracuse after struggling during the first half and made 11 of their 12 attempts from the charity stripe after the break.

This was not the case, however, against Miami, when Duke converted just a third of its nine shots from the line. The Blue Devils need to attack like they did in their last matchup with Florida State Jan. 10. During that game, Duke got to the line 26 times and was able to convert on 19 of those attempts.

Get Tatum back on track

Prior to Duke’s matchup at Miami, Jayson Tatum had been on fire in his last three games. The rookie averaged 22.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest while shooting 63.2 percent from beyond the arc in that span, but Tatum could not get his shot to fall Saturday, when he missed all seven of his 3-point attempts and only scored eight points.

In order to get back on track with the ACC and NCAA tournaments looming. Duke will need Tatum to be a constant force at the forward position, and it is essential that he gets back near his season averages of 16.1 points and 7.3 boards per contest Tuesday night.


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