Following the Clemson debacle the FSU coaching staff publicly criticized the seniors for the 2nd straight game. The players responded by calling a come-to-Jesus players-only meeting. Who knows what happened in that meeting, but the result was that the FSU basketball team came out as focused defensively as they've been all season. The Noles pressured every shot, blocking 25.4% of them (!!), and wore the Hokies down in a defensive battle. The game plan was to disrupt Erick Green and force the rest of the team to win it for Virginia Tech. FSU played Green physical - they shouldered him every time he cut through the lane, they aggressively boxed him out even when the rebound wasn't in his vicinity, and they face guarded him when he didn't have the ball. He's an exceptional player and still scored 21 points, but he shot 5-14 and didn't record a single assist. Virginia Tech's 0.86 points per possession was their worst output of the season.
Offensively, it was the traditional FSU formula: do enough to win. FSU scored 63 points in a 69 possession game, and the problem, as usual, was turnovers. The Noles turned it over on 27.5% of their possessions, which is slightly above their season average. But when they didn't turn it over the combination of Bernard James and Ian Miller were too much for the favored Hokies. James ripped down 9 offensive rebounds (15 total) on his way to 18 points, and Miller scored 15 off an efficient 10 shots. In the game preview I noted that FSU needed to spread out the lengthy Hokies defense, drive, and see what happens. Which is exactly what the Noles did. Credit Leonard Hamilton and the staff for adapting the offense to fit the opponent.
Now FSU is firmly back on the bubble, and finally gets to play a home game in the ACC (against UNC). ESPN Gameday debuts this Saturday, and it happens to be in Tallahassee. If you haven't gotten tickets yet then you're rapidly running out of time.