Seminoles shock top-ranked Duke
It was celebration time in Tallahassee, Fla., and I'm not talking about Bobby Bowden, Jimbo Fisher and football, baby!
The way Florida State played in losses to Auburn and Virginia Tech, I honestly was not expecting shock city against No. 1 Duke on Wednesday night. So much for the 25-game win streak by the Blue Devils.
Leonard Hamilton's team played hard, with a lot of emotion and together defensively as a unit. The Seminoles got to the loose balls and, in crunch time, they made key free throws. A team that came in shooting 66 percent from the line converted five in a row down the stretch to get to the winner's circle. They stepped up at the crucial time.
Derwin Kitchen and Chris Singleton were the star of stars in the upset. It is amazing to think Kitchen went 0-for-5 from the floor in Saturday's loss to Virginia Tech but came through with 22 big points and 10 boards against the Dukies.
Florida State is also a different team at home, as history repeated itself. It was in Tallahassee in 2002 that the Seminoles beat a No. 1 Duke team that had Jason Williams and Carlos Boozer. It happened again in 2006 to J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams when the Blue Devils were numero uno. Clearly, the Seminoles raise the level of their game when they see the Duke jersey.
Duke attempted 35 3-pointers, and that tells me it has to go back to the drawing board and look more to the interior. It may be going to Kyle Singler more inside or finding Mason Plumlee the way they did in Kansas City when he played so well at the CBE Classic.
The Blue Devils were too one-dimensional shooting 3s. There were too many times where they rushed those long-range shots. Florida State shot well enough to win; in previous games they were struggle city from the floor. That was their nightmare, the inability to convert from the field. They have guys who can go up and down the floor.
How big was this for the Seminoles? Coming in, their best win by far was against Baylor out at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. This has to give Hamilton's team a big-time boost in confidence. Perhaps they can use this to propel a run in the ACC; the team has potential to finish among the elite in the conference.
After losses to Auburn and Virginia Tech, they enjoyed a magical moment.
Florida State has a lot of good athletes and when they get back injured players Oliver Gibson and Ian Miller, watch out.
I honestly believe that if Kyrie Irving was not injured, Duke would have had a legit shot to run the table and go undefeated. That has not happened since Gen. Robert Montgomery Knight led Indiana to a perfect campaign back in 1976. With Irving in the lineup, the Blue Devils have three incredible scoring threats on the perimeter.
The diaper dandy was so impressive early, including wins over Marquette and Kansas State out in Kansas City when I called those games. His toe injury may sideline him for the rest of the season. When Irving was in there, it was so difficult to defend him, Singler and Nolan Smith.
Remember, every time Duke takes the court, you know they will get the opposition's best shot. That was certainly the case on Wednesday.
For one night, Florida State shocked America. Based on the performances against Auburn and Virginia Tech, there was no way you could expect this upset. You could not tell that to a bunch of courageous kids from Tallahassee, baby!