Nine of twelve ACC teams have either two or three losses on their conference slate. Miami (5-0) has established itself as the clear cut leader, while Boston College (1-4) and Georgia Tech (0-5) are hoping their teams don't quit. Everyone else is in a pack.
Florida State, which improbably began the ACC with two straight road wins, is at 2-2 after giving one away to North Carolina and then getting trucked at Virginia. Now the Noles are back home, and if they hope to emerge on the right end of the nine-team pileup, then a win tonight is probably needed.
Clemson (10-7, 2-3) is in town, and Florida State already beat them at their place. The Tigers are a below average offensive team which plays exceptional defense. They have 6-8 senior Devin Booker (not to be confused with FSU's 6-3 freshman Devon Bookert) who is an absolute load down low. He had a 19-11 double-double in the first matchup. They have the enigmatic 6-9 senior Milton Jennings - a former 5* recruit - who often makes the effort level of CJ Leslie look inspired. And they have a young, talented back court which plays like a young, talented back court - i.e. inconsistently.
But let's be honest. This game isn't about Clemson. It's about FSU, and whether the staff can get this team turned around.
I'll admit - at this point I'm skeptical. Terrance Shannon is out indefinitely with bruising around his spinal cord (and undergoing more tests), Ian Miller has been hobbled for weeks and has barely practiced this season, and the young point guards have struggled once their Miller safety-net was taken away.
Still, this is a talented roster, led by two potential stars in Michael Snaer and Okaro White. Yes, the team lost six seniors, and yes, the team has suffered some really poor injury luck, but because of Snaer and White we're still discussing this squad as a potential NCAA Tournament team.
If that doesn't impress you with how far this program has come in the past decade, then I'm not sure anything will.
The game tips at 8pm from the Tuck, and will be broadcast on the ACC Network and ESPN3. There's a rare schism between Vegas and Pomeroy. Vegas has the Noles as a 4.5 point favorite, while Pomeroy has the Noles -1.