ATLANTA — Check out Andrew Beaton's story on The Chronicle website for detailed coverage of Duke's 60-56 Friday win over Virginia Tech. Below are a few assorted tidbits from that game and the following quarterfinal game in which Florida State defeated Miami 82-71 to become Duke's Saturday opponent.
- After one contest without Ryan Kelly, it remains unclear how his absence will affect the Blue Devils. Duke held its own in the paint against the Hokies, but Kelly might have been less needed against a team that had just one true post player, and no players over 6-foot-8. On the other hand, though, the Hokies' agile perimeter players forced one of the Plumlees—when they were on the floor together—to cover a more perimeter-oriented player, where Kelly might have been more comfortable. The Plumlees will need to step up defensively and stay out of foul trouble against Florida State's trio of forwards—Bernard James, Xavier Gibson and Jon Kreft—over 6-foot-10. Miles picked up two quick fouls against Virginia Tech, a situation that will be much more problematic in the semifinal matchup.
- Mason Plumlee played a good game Friday, but it could have been even better if he had had better hands on a couple of good passes from the Duke guards. At least two of Plumlee's three turnovers would have been easy points had he caught the passes.
- Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton said that his team did a good job on defense against Miami with the exception of its shot contesting on the perimeter. The Hurricanes shot 40 percent from beyond the arc against the Seminoles, and similarly poor perimeter defense against the Blue Devils could give Duke a significant advantage.
- Hamilton also said after his team's game that he has not had much time to game plan specifically for Duke. "We're very familiar with each other," Hamilton said . "There won't be any secrets. They have a system that they use that they think is best for their team in relation to the talent that they have. We have a system that we use. I think the team that comes as close as they can to executing that system...is normally the team that wins."
- Compared to the Seminoles, the Blue Devils will have several extra hours of rest heading into the 3 p.m. game Saturday and will continue playing without Ryan Kelly, but Hamilton and his players said that those will not be deciding factors in Saturday's contest. Hamilton said that Duke can still win without Kelly and noted that he did not change his team's game plan at all after finding out late Friday that Miami would play without its leading scorer, Durand Scott. Sophomore Ian Miller and junior Michael Snaer emphasized that toughness and poise would trump rest and health as the crucial attributes for either team.
- Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his star freshman Austin Rivers shared a good-natured moment of ribbing during the post-game press conference. Krzyzewski talked about a play where Miles Plumlee tipped a ball downcourt and Rivers raced to pick it up and score on the other end. "It's the first sprint I've seen Austin win this year," Krzyzewski said. "I should put a ball out in front of him where he might score when we're doing sprints. He might win a few more." Before a reporter could ask the next question, Rivers smiled and offered an understated response: "Not true."