Preview and Game Thread: Florida State Seminoles vs Virginia Cavaliers, 7pm EST

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In our last game preview, we mentioned this would be a big week in the ACC. Tonight will continue to clear up the muddled picture that is ACC basketball. Florida State travels to Charlottesville to take on University of Virginia squad that is on a three game losing streak. The Noles hope to continue  Cavalier's losing steak and move up the rankings in the ACC.

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Game Time: 7:00pm EST

Television: ESPNU

Live Stats: scacchoops.com

After an outstanding start to the season, the Virginia Cavaliers have finally come back down to earth, losing their last three games. Granted, those three games were against Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Maryland. Tonight's game is an opportunity for the Seminoles to not only move up the conference standings, but to add an ACC road win to their tournament resume. As it currently stands, Ken Pomeroy predicts Florida State to lose this game and win the rest of the games. However, the three out of the five games have a predicted percentage of either 50% or 51%, meaning 4-1 in the last five games could easily be 2-3. It would be outstanding for the Seminoles to win this game and then at Chapel Hill on February 24th. While it may happen, it will likely not.  It is necessary that the Seminoles win one of the two to make the road to a 9-7 in the ACC more likely.

The Cavaliers enter tonight's contest with a 14-9 record and are 5-5 in the ACC. They rank 55th in the Pomeroy rankings and have the 52nd and 65th best offense and defense respectively. The Cavalier's out of conference schedule does not include any impressive wins. The most impressive is a win against University of Alabama Birmingham. They had losses to South Florida, Stanford, Penn State and Auburn. The expectations for Virginia were not high this year and their out of conference schedule was in like with expectations. However, when conference play started, the Cavaliers started turning heads.

Virginia opened conference play with three straight wins over NC State, Georgia Tech and Miami. After a non-conference breather against NC Wilmington, the Cavs lost to Wake Forest and Virginia Tech only to head into Chapel Hill and upset the Tarheels. Now, the Cavaliers have been on a major skid and are playing 5 games in eleven days against some very tough competition: VTech, Maryland, Florida St, Clemson and Miami. Four of those five games are on the road. This stretch will define the Cavaliers' season.

The Cavaliers do a number of things exceedingly well, the most notable being their ability to limit turnovers. Their TO% is only 16.5%, which ranks 11th in the nation. They play a down tempo ball possession game and rock you to sleep. Admittedly, I haven't had a lot of time of late to watch game tape on the Cavaliers. They do shoot the ball well from beyond the arc, shooting 36.6% as a team on the year. However, they only take 28% of their shots from deep, which is not a very high amount compared to the rest of the nation. They make the most out of their shots.  Interestingly enough, they shoot 46.7% inside the arc, which is 206th in the nation. Additionally, they do not get to the free throw line at all, ranking 305th in the nation of getting to charity stripe. This suggests that they do not get into the paint often.

Starting Lineups:

Virginia Cavaliers

F #32 Mike Scott  6'8 239lbs Junior13.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg
F #55 Jerome Meyinsse 6'9 233lbs Senior 5.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg
G #1 Jontel Evans 5'11 185lbs Freshman 2.7 ppg, 2.0 apg
G #13 Sammy Zeglinski 6'0 180lbs Sophomore 9.3 ppg, 2.7 apg;
G #15 Sylven Landesberg  6'6 207lbs Sophomore17.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg;

Florida State

F #31 Chris Singleton 10.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg
F #42 Ryan Reid 7.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
C #32 Solomon Alabi 12.5 ppg, 2.5 bpg
G #21 Michael Snaer 9.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg
G #22 Derwin Kitchen 8.7 ppg, 4.0 apg

Sylven Landesberg was the ACC Freshman of the Year last year and is having another wonderful season for the Cavaliers. He shoots the ball very well and is their go to scorer. He only turns the ball over on 13% of possessions. This should be a great matchup with Michael Snaer. Landesberg is slightly taller but Snaer should be able to match up with him. The other major play maker on the Cavaliers is Mike Scott. He has an eFG% of 53.9% and has an ORating of 109.3. Like Landesberg, Scott rarely turns the ball over and has been doing an excellent job on the glass.

Where the Cavaliers get into trouble is when they have poor shooting nights. In the last three games, they have shot an eFG% of less than 40%. Additionally, they get into trouble when they don't rebound well on the offensive end. Florida State will have a significant size advantage tonight. Virginia does have Assane Sene, who is a seven foot sophomore who is playing about 13 minutes a game. Depending what kind of start Florida States gets off to, he may make an appearance quite early.

Four Factors:

 

 

While UVA doesn't get to the line often, they make you pay, shooting 75.1% as a team. Florida State needs bring the TO% differential closer together to have a chance to win on the road tonight.

Keys to the Game:

1. Build off the BC win. By this, we mean play defense like you did in the second half against BC. Boston College only scored 17 points in the second half. The Seminoles completely shut them down. That kind of effort will be necessary to win this game.

2. Force UVA out of their comfort zone. UVA likes to play possession basketball. As the pace goes up, they do worse. Singleton needs to have his usual outstanding performance on the defensive end to force steals. But, the Seminoles need to finish in transition.

3. Don't get behind on the road. This should be obvious. Florida State doesn't have the offensive power  to make a big surge on the road.

4. Alabi and Snaer. A complete game from both players on both ends of the court will help the Seminoles tremendously.

Prediction: Florida State 70 Virginia 62

Game Time: 7:00pm EST

Television: ESPNU

Live Stats: scacchoops.com

Random Fact from Seminoles.com:

SNAER NAMED ACC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Seminole freshman Michael Snaer, who scored in double figures twice in two games and averaged 14.0 points, 2.5 rebounds as the Seminoles split two ACC games, was named the ACC Rookie of the Week in a vote by a blue-ribbon panel of members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. In Sunday's 62-47 win over Boston College, the Moreno, Calif., tied his career-high with 18 points and earned two assists. Snaer scored 10 points and four rebounds against Clemson on the road last Wednesday. On the year, Snaer is third among ACC freshmen in scoring, averaging an even 9.0 points per game. It is the first ROW honor for the Seminoles' fabulous freshman.

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