On Wednesday, Florida State's trio of oversized forwards -- the 6-foot-9 Singleton, who's regarded as the college game's most versatile defender; 6-10 Bernard James and 6-8 Terrence Shannon -- dominated the interior. They made the Plumlee brothers invisible on offense; Miles was 0-for-1 from the field for zero points, and Mason was 1-for-3 for three points. The 'Noles walled off drivers, particularly point guard Nolan Smith, holding Duke to 8-of-26 shooting (30.8 percent) from inside the arc, nearly 17 percent below its season average on twos. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils struggled to defend Singleton late in the game, especially in the final minute, when Mason Plumlee fouled out because he couldn't move his feet fast enough to cut off a drive. Singleton stepped to the line with 33.1 seconds left and a 61-58 lead, and hit both free throws to put the game nearly out of reach.
Watching Duke's futility inside made you wonder -- would it fare any better against Kansas' Morris twins and Thomas Robinson, or Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Dallas Lauderdale and Deshaun Thomas? Some serious re-evaluation of the Blue Devils' national-title chances is necessary based on their interior weakness. Brian Zoubek was far from the star of last season's championship run, but he was its unsung hero for controlling the paint.
They played their standard D -- "I don't think they did anything tricky," Krzyzewski said -- and benefitted from a monster offensive night from guard Derwin Kitchen, who went 9-of-13 from the field for 22 points (and grabbed 10 rebounds). It's amazing to think that the last time he faced Duke, on Jan. 27, 2010, Kitchen attempted just two shots in 34 minutes of a 70-56 loss. If he and Singleton can score like this on a regular basis, Florida State has as good a shot as anyone at finishing second in the ACC.