ACC Quarterfinals: Previewing FSU vs Miami

Feb 26, 2012; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard Luke Loucks (3) drives to the basket between Miami Hurricanes forward/center Kenny Kadji (35) and guard Rion Brown (15) in the first half at the BankUnited Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

Only three players on FSU's roster have won an ACC Tournament game (Luke Loucks, Deividas Dulkys and Xavier Gibson). To change that, FSU must make it through a tough draw in the quarterfinals. The foe is Miami, a team FSU struggled with during the regular season. They split the season series, with each team winning at home.

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FSU's offense struggled in both games. The Seminoles scored just 0.93 points per possession in the two games combined, but luckily most of the poor offense was self inflicted. Miami has a solid defense (51st nationally), but nothing special. In the two regular season games FSU failed to knock down 3-pointers (10-39, 25.6%), and committed several sloppy turnovers on their way to a 24.2% turnover rate. When FSU wasn't turning the ball over or jacking front-rim threes, they converted an excellent 52.9% of their 2s.

When the Noles have the ball the player to watch is Miami center Reggie Johnson. Johnson is a big man (and by big, I mean fat and in no shape to fully realize his All-American caliber skills), and this size takes away from his quickness in the post. So he'll almost always be playing behind FSU's post players. Typically, post defenders will play in a 3/4 cover when the offensive player is 10' or more from the basket. This means the post defender plays behind the offensive player, and cheats toward the ball-side in order to get one hand into the passing lane. But when the offensive player gets deep position on the block it does no good to play behind them. So post defenders will "swim" over the offensive player and establish position in front. This means the only entry pass has to be a lob over the top which gives time for help defense to come in and tip it away.

But Johnson is too slow to play in front of Bernard James or Xavier Gibson. To attack this FSU will use a variety of screens to try and establish a post player on the block with Reggie Johnson behind them. Teams can't back him down, because he's too strong. So you have to use quickness. The key for FSU is crisp entry passes (cross your fingers and pray to whatever Gods you think might listen) and having the bigs attack immediately upon receiving the pass.

If the Noles can execute this, convert 35% or more on their 3s, and keep their turnovers to 20% then this will be a very tough game for Miami to win.

When Miami has the ball, they have plenty of weapons. I broke this down on film in February.


Video: Inside the Miami Offense

The winner of this game will advance to play the winner of Duke/Virginia Tech. Go Hokies.

The game is scheduled for 9pm but will most likely tip around 9:30 (tune in earlier to be safe). It will be broadcast on ESPN2/ESPN3 and theacc.com. The line in Vegas opened at FSU -1.5, but has since moved to FSU -3. Pomeroy has FSU -1.

*note: Congratulations to Luke Loucks who will be playing in his 132nd game for FSU. This passes the previous record held by Uche Echefu.

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