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January 27, 2010

FSU prepares for well-balanced Duke

Florida State (15-4, 3-2 ACC) returns to action on Wednesday night when it travels to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face No. 7/8 Duke (16-3, 4-2 ACC) at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

Mike Krzyzewski's club is led by the trio of Jon Scheyer (18.6 ppg, 5.7 apg), Nolan Smith (18.5 ppg, 3.1 apg), and Kyle Singler (15.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg), but Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton cautions at failing to give proper attention to the remainder of the Blue Devils' roster.

"They have three perimeter players, all playing very, very well," Hamilton said. "I think you have a tendency to give them all the attention and they have a backline of guys who all get eight to ten. So these guys get their numbers and then you end up giving those guys 20-something points on the backline. All of a sudden it becomes an 80-point game."

"I think you have to give their whole team the proper respect," Hamilton added. "You run the risk of concentrating totally on the perimeter and then all those guys get tip-ins or putbacks."

Recognizing Duke's offensive balance and not just its three-headed perimeter monster, is something Hamilton has stressed to the Seminoles in preparation. Forward Chris Singleton, who is leading the Seminoles with 11.1 points per game, described the Blue Devils as a more well-rounded team than the group the Seminoles lost to in the ACC Tournament Championship last year.

"They have smart players and they mold together well," Singleton said. "This year they are averaging a lot more inside guys, and that is different from the past, so they have an all-around game."

Hamilton talked about the front line that the Blue Devils will utilize against the Seminoles size.

"They have a senior in (Lance) Thomas and (Brian) Zoubek who is a senior, very experienced, and he has always been a thorn in our side with his big body, and they have the two Plumlee (Mason and Miles) brothers," Hamilton said. "So they are sitting there with 20 fouls and they use every one of them."

In addition to the 20 fouls at their disposal, that foursome is combining to average 23.8 points and 21.4 rebounds per game while providing some toughness in the paint.

"It is going to be physical," Singleton said. "We just have to fight through it."

While the Blue Devils pose a number of different challenges, don't expect the Seminoles, who enter the game with the nation's top ranked field goal percentage defense, to shake up their defensive approach.

"We are not going to change our plans in regards to how we defend," Hamilton said. "We know we have our hands full with their perimeter players, and we have been hurt by some perimeter players here as of late, but Duke is always difficult to play and they are probably playing the best of anybody in our league right now, probably the most consistent team in the ACC."

Most of all, the game provides an opportunity for the Seminoles to not only knock off one of the nation's best teams but to also move up in the ACC standings. While it is always tough to win at Duke, Florida State is one of only three teams to defeat the Blue Devils in their home building in the past three seasons.

"We realize that they hold a spot we are trying to get to," Hamilton said. "We need to be at our very, very best in order to be successful."


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