USA TODAY Sports
With a win, FSU keeps pace with Maryland for the ACC 6th seed.
It was on January 19th that FSU's season officially went to hell. FSU had been 2-1 in the ACC with a chance to pick up a huge road win at Virginia. Instead, the team flew home after losing by 20 and had to leave Terrance Shannon behind in the hospital. Since then the Noles have dropped from No. 71 in the Pomeroy's, to No. 122. And the reason was that their best rebounder was on the bench in street clothes.
Now, Shannon is back, though he couldn't do cardio while he recovered, so it's back to square one for his conditioning. He might be able to play meaningful minutes in a week or two, but who knows if FSU will have any more games to play.
The Cavaliers used that game as a launching point and won 7 of 8 to challenge atop the ACC. They've gone 2-3 since then, but still sit at 10-6 and are fighting for a 1st round bye in the ACCT. They hold the tiebreaker over NC State so if they beat FSU and win at home on senior day (vs Maryland), then they'll be the No. 4 seed regardless of what happens when the Wolfpack come to Tallahassee.
For FSU the only hopes of a 5th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance ride solely on the ACCT, so this is essentially a 2-game season to try and figure out some answers. What happens in these remaining games will have a big impact on Michael Snaer's legacy. Is he going to finish in the NCAA Tournament? The NIT? The CBI or CIT? Or will it end next week in Greensboro? To ensure at least a .500 season FSU needs to win one of the final two. Snaer is averaging 18.0 points per game over his past five, and the Noles need some offense out of him tonight. Now that the point guard situation is settled, Snaer has been getting more consistent looks. If Snaer does have a big night he could become the 10th player in program history to score 1,500 points (he needs 25).
Since these two teams last met, the Virginia defense has given up more than a point per possession just three times in 13 games. Considering how porous FSU's defense is, you have to think FSU needs to become team number four in order to win this game. But the Cavaliers are the 2nd best team at forcing turnovers in ACC play, as well as the 2nd best team controlling the defensive glass. In other words, possessions will be limited so FSU needs to make their shots because each attempt is a precious thing vs Virginia.
The game tips at 7pm from the Don and will be broadcast on ESPN2. FSU is a 3 point underdog in Vegas and Pomeroy has UVA -8.