A goal for any college staff is to have their team peaking when the conference tournaments begin. Last year that was certainly the case for FSU, as they finished the regular season with two solid wins and then rolled convincingly through the ACCT for their first ever ACC title.
It's tougher to judge this year, and FSU was playing at a high level in Brooklyn. Then Ian Miller got hurt and the slide began. Regardless, since that point, FSU is now playing its best basketball post-injuries. The Noles have won three of four heading into the ACCT.
To defend their ACC title, the Noles will have to win four games in four days. It's certainly an uphill task, and there's no reason to consider what might come on Friday. For now it's survive and advance, and worry about the next opponent once you beat the current one.
The Noles drew Clemson in the opening round, a team they've beaten twice. The victories were by a total of eight points, and Terrance Shannon was healthy the first time these two met. So "expecting" a victory is foolish. In fact, Pomeroy has the Tigers favored by 1 point.
The Tigers are offensively challenged, primarily due to a lack of shooters. Freshman Jordan Roper is the only player on the roster who makes more than a third of his 3s (40%), and he's struggled down the stretch, making 7-22 in the past four games. It's possible freshman legs are catching up.
The matchup problem for FSU will come from 6-8 senior Devin Booker. Booker is a beast down low and has made 15-19 (79%) shots vs FSU this year. The natural defender for Booker is Terrance Shannon, but since he's limited following his injury, it will fall mostly on Okaro White. Considering White's propensity for picking up fouls, it is imperative that he plays a healthy number of first half minutes. Booker is too strong for White, and too quick for Turpin. It's going to be a problem, and guarding him will leave shooters open. Hope for the miss and grab the board.
Where the Tigers excel is on the defensive end. They have a rare combination of being solid on the interior, while also being able to limit 3-pt attempts. Only Wake Forest has given up fewer 3-pt attempts in the ACC (but for Wake, there is no need for 3s because their interior D is awful).
The game will tip at approximately 9:30 EST (could be a few minutes earlier, so pay attention) and FSU is favored by 2 in Vegas, while they're a 1-point underdog at Pomeroy. It will be broadcast on ESPNU. The winner advances to play North Carolina tomorrow.
The rest of the day is as follows:
Georgia Tech vs Boston College NOON
Virginia Tech vs NC State ~2:30
Wake Forest vs Maryland 7:00