The stage is set for the championship game of the 2019 ACC Tournament after an intense nightcap between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels. The Florida State Seminoles punched their ticket to the conference championship game earlier in the day with an impressive 69-59 win over the Virginia Cavaliers. In turn, it sets up an intriguing rematch from the regular season with Duke.
The Blue Devils held off the Tar Heels 74-73, getting some revenge after falling twice to their biggest rival during the regular season. Obviously, both of those games were without freshman phenom Zion Williamson, but the two teams gave us a matchup for the ages on Friday night.
The Seminoles return to the ACC title game for the first time since 2012 and are fresh off a season in which they posted a 27-6 record. Equally as impressive is the fact that FSU went 13-5 in conference play, but they were nearly eliminated one day prior against the Virginia Tech Hokies.
During the 65-63 win in the quarterfinals, Florida State advanced thanks to a wild game-winning shot in overtime by Terance Mann. Regardless, they’ve completed the run and now have a chance to win their first conference championship since the aforementioned 2012 season.
On the other side, it was a hard-fought game against UNC which led to Duke advancing. Zion and company went back-and-forth with their rival before Coby White’s game-winner attempt clanked off late. The return of Williamson from injury has been crucial for the Blue Devils, and he’s posted back-to-back huge performances to start the tournament.
Duke vs. Florida State Betting Line & Total
*All odds and betting lines courtesy of OddsShark
- Duke (-8 at -105) vs. Florida State Seminoles
- Over/Under: 147 (-115)
Florida State and Duke met once during the regular season and it was played in Tallahassee. The Blue Devils were 7.5-point favorites but left town with a narrow 80-78 win which they picked up while Williamson was sidelined for the second half due to double vision. He was poked in the eye during the opening half of action, so played just 17 minutes, but FSU still held a 39-38 lead at halftime.
RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish led the way in that game as the freshman duo combined for 55 points. Barrett shot 10-of-19 from the field and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc while Reddish caught fire going 9-of-15 and 5-of-8 from deep.
On the other side, Mfiondu Kabengele was a force for FSU off the bench, scoring 25 points with 10 rebounds in 25 minutes. Phil Cofer also totaled 21 points with seven rebounds on 8-of-13 shooting and 5-of-8 from 3-point range.
Duke vs. Florida State Prediction
The big question for the Blue Devils is how Zion’s conditioning will be after missing five (essentially six) games due to a knee injury. The setback occurred when his foot burst through the side of his shoe and he suffered a sprained knee less than one minute into a matchup with UNC on February 20.
Williamson’s first game back was the start of the ACC tournament so this will mark his third consecutive game played after sitting out the extended period. He’s had no restrictions on playing time either, logging 36 and 35 minutes in the two games while scoring a total of 60 points. Obviously, slowing Zion down will be a tall task for the Seminoles, especially if he shows no issues with conditioning.
Florida State is built far different than Duke, as they are one of the most well-rounded teams in the ACC. In their tournament-opening win over Virginia Tech, the Seminoles had 10 players score and eight players log double-digit minutes. They have a deep bench and entered the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 14 of their final 15 games.
Although FSU is bound to be all-in on getting revenge and taking home the title, I’m rolling with the Blue Devils to keep their run going behind Zion and Barrett. Three games in three days for a team who plays a short bench is a tall task, but I’m backing Coach K’s squad to get it done.
Prediction: Duke Blue Devils 78, Florida State Seminoles 74
Pick: Florida State +8