by DeMarco Williams
Aaah, Selection Sunday. Along with the MLB’s opening day and the NFL’s conference championships, it’s my favorite day of the sports year. You should see me; I’m all smiles. Can’t say the same thing for fans of St. Mary’s, Penn State and Maryland right now nervously waiting to see if their team’s body of work was enough to get NCAA invites. To that end, all I can say is that the teams -Florida State (25-8) and Duke (27-6)- I’m currently staring at have done enough to confidently purchase their suits for the Dance a while back. A win today will be mere icing on the cake - and possibly the cherry to bump them up a seed in the brackets. Time to see who wants it more…
Previous ACC Tournament Live Blogs: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Game 11: No. 3 Duke vs. No. 4 Florida State
-The bands are tuned. The fans are pumped. Dickie V’s looking sharp. Duke assistant/former guard Steve Wojciechowski just made sure his cufflinks are on tight. We’re ready to roll.
-In the last two meetings between these two, the Blue Devils came out on top- 66-58 back on January 10 and 84-81 on March 3. Duke’s Gerald Henderson and FSU’s Toney Douglas were the high men for both of the contests. Henderson probably won’t have to repeat that for a win, but Douglas will need at least 25, I’m thinking. Totally possible.
-If ESPN failed to air the national anthem, you missed a treat. The young lady just KILLED it. Wonderful rendition.
-A couple of random facts about today’s action: Duke and Florida State have never played each other in the tournament… If FSU’s Leonard Hamilton wins, he’ll become the first African-American coach to earn the title.
-Nole Solomon Alabi with the first bucket and block.
-Jon Scheyer with the outside answer. Give him two inches and he’ll get two points.
-But on the flip side, give Douglas three feet and he’ll nail a three. 5-3 FSU.
-Alabi’s got a lot of tools, especially for a freshman. Most seven-footers are kinda ditsy-looking out there (See: Duke’s Brian Zoubek); not Alabi. His feet are good. His hands are soft. With another year under Coach Hamilton, he’ll be pretty special.
-Scheyer’s got five early ones. 9-8 Duke with 15 minutes to go.
-The Blue Devil mascot has “Our House” written on some tape across his forehead. 12-11 Duke with 11:37 in the 1st.
-Henderson might be thinking about those two early meetings. He’s got a quick seven.
-Singler may give’em a run though. He’s got five. By the way, I’ve got a new nickname for him- “Duke Nowitzki.” Ya like it?
-Kyle is feeling it. Knew it was going in before it left his hands… Keep your composure, Noles. Don’t worry about the Duke band chanting “Kyle Sing-ler!” over to the left. Stay focused. 23-11 isn’t that bad.
-Zoubek does a WWE move on Alabi but FSU doesn’t get the call. They do, however, call a timeout. Need it. 29-14 on the scoreboard. 7:07 to go.
-Douglas seems to be trying to make the 15-point comeback all by himself. His looks are decent, but they’re coming off a bit rushed. Plenty of time, young fella, plenty of time.
-The Noles are under 28% from the field right now. 50% from the line. Yuck.
-Nice, acrobatic shot from Nolan Smith. Nice, acrobatic block from Singler.
-Umm, look out below, Nolan. Niiiice bang!
-Douglas’ shot ain’t fallin’. The Noles ain’t winnin’ without it. 35-20 with 47 seconds left.
-Like my man beside me says, this first half ”couldn’t have gone any worst” for Florida State. 35-21 Blue Devils at the break. Douglas has nine points, but he’s just 2-of-8 from the field. Duke’s big three has 29 points and Lance Thomas has grabbed eight boards. Coach Hamilton has his work cut out for him in the locker room.