The No. 7 Duke Blue Devils have found it difficult to keep all their players healthy at once this season, and they will visit red-hot and ninth-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee on Tuesday night without excellent big man Amile Jefferson.
Duke (14-2) played its first game in years without Coach Mike Krzyzewski on Saturday as he's out about a month due to back surgery. The Blue Devils beat visiting Boston College 93-82 under interim coach Jeff Capel, a former Duke point guard. Freshman Jayson Tatum had a career-high 22 points and Grayson Allen had 12 points and 11 assists -- but looked like he might have tried to trip another opponent. The ACC released a statement saying "there is nothing conclusive that can be determined as to whether Allen intentionally made contact with an Eagles player using his leg or foot." So he has avoided punishment. Coach K had suspended Allen one game earlier this season for tripping an Elon player while also stripping Allen of his captaincy.
Jefferson is a captain and the redshirt senior forward suffered a bone bruise in his foot against Boston College. He has been ruled out against FSU. Jefferson broke the same foot last season and missed all but nine games, which allowed him to redshirt. Jefferson has started every game for Duke this season, averaging 13.6 points and a team-best 10.1 rebounds per game. This injury should mean more time on the court for freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden. In addition, sophomore Chase Jeter likely will be available after missing the past two games with a back injury. However, for the 15th time in their 17 games this season the Blue Devils will not have their full roster available.
This might be the best Florida State team (15-1) in a long while and is off to the its start since 1988-89. The No. 9 ranking is the school's highest since Feb. 28, 1993, when the Seminoles were ranked sixth in the country. That week FSU lost to No. 9 Duke and then No. 3 North Carolina, and fell out of the Top 10.
The Seminoles carry an 11-game winning streak into this one, and they have never won 12 straight. FSU, an opening 1-point favorite on Heritage NCAA basketball odds, is working on back-to-back wins over ranked teams for the first time since the 2012 ACC Tournament. They upset No. 12 Virginia in Charlottesville on New Year's Eve and then handled No. 21 Virginia Tech 93-78 in Tallahassee on Saturday.
Florida State is in a stretch where it plays six straight game against ranked teams. After Duke, it goes to No. 11 North Carolina, hosts No. 20 Notre Dame and hosts No. 14 Louisville. While FSU is 7-0-1 ATS on NCAA basketball picks in its past eight ACC games, Duke is just 1-7 ATS in its past eight in the conference. Duke has won five of its last seven games against the Seminoles.