FSU at Miami preview and game thread

Feb 23, 2012; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles forward Okaro White (10) is fouled by Duke Blue Devils forward Miles Plumlee (21) as he shoots the ball during the first half of the game at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

When these teams met two weeks ago Miami was one of the hottest teams in the country, and looked like a lock to finish with their first ever winning conference record in the ACC. Since then they've lost to North Carolina and at Maryland, with a lone win over Wake Forest. That has been enough to drop them into the last-four-in, first-four-out area of the bubble. But with a schedule that finishes vs FSU, at NC State and vs Boston College they can easily play their way solidly back into the Dance.

But first they need to win today.

Miami's offense has been just fine. In the past nine games they've only failed to score more than a point per possession one time (at FSU). Defensively, they've struggled a bit down the stretch. Since holding FSU to 0.98 per possession, they've allowed 1.16 to UNC, 0.93 to a horrible Wake Forest, and 1.15 to Maryland. In that final game, that was the most points Maryland has scored in the ACC this year. The problem in that game was that center Reggie Johnson re-injured his surgically repaired knee (tweaked against UNC) and only played 15 minutes. How mobile he is will have a big impact on tonight's game.

Kenny Kadji has stayed hot since the FSU game. The 6'11 power forward is averaging a team best 15.5 ppg in ACC play. He scored 14 (on just 8 shots) last time against FSU, and since then has made 4-5 3s. The Seminoles allowed a few pick-and-pop situations for him in the first game, though he only converted 1-4 3s. FSU will have to do a better job defending that play this time around.

For FSU a win would guarantee at least 11 conference wins for the 2nd consecutive season. This hasn't happened since the Noles first two ACC seasons in 1991-92, and 1992-93. FSU also needs at least one more win to guarantee a first round bye in the ACC Tournament, and needs to win out to have a shot at the #1 seed in the ACC.

The game tips at 6pm from the sold out Bank United Center and will be broadcast on ESPNU. Vegas and Ken Pomeroy both have Miami favored by 1.

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