Florida State finished the year in a three-way tie for 7th in the ACC, but following the application of tie-breaker rules they were relegated to the 8/9 game with Maryland. The winner gets to take their bubble hopes against No. 1 seed Virginia.
The last time these two met Maryland used a 26-8 run to close out the first half, and the game was never in doubt. The story that night was 6-1 sophomore Seth Allen making 7-10 3s on his way to a career high 32 points. Later in the season he made 6-9 vs Syracuse, proving that he is capable of some seriously streaky shooting. Outside of those two games Allen made 31% of his 3-point attempts for the year.
The other key point of that matchup was the fact that Ian Miller didn't play. He was sidelined with an injury, so Devon Bookert, Aaron Thomas, and Montay Brandon averaged 37 minutes per man.
When these two teams met earlier in the year in Tallahassee, FSU blitzed the Terps 85-61 behind a record 16-24 3s.
With both of the previous games settled by absurd wins in the 3-point lottery, perhaps the 3rd matchup will be more evenly played.
Maryland has been playing well of late. They beat Virginia to finish their season, and though they finished 3-3 down the stretch, the three losses were at Duke (by 2), at Clemson (in double OT), and vs Syracuse (by 2). But their solid play has little to do with their offense. They only scored more than a point per possession in two of those six games. Their offense was No. 104 for the season, and 11th in the ACC. They don't get to the line very often, and they are at best an average shooting team. Where they've been excelling is on defense. They've held six straight opponents to one of their 10 worst offensive games of the season. In conference play they've been the 2nd best defensive rebounding club, which is a direct counterpoint to one of FSU's strengths: offensive rebounding.
Florida State has been the opposite, as the Noles are playing their best and most consistent offense of the year since Ian Miller returned. Since returning from his injury Miller has made 21-42 3s (50%) on his way to 16.6 points per game, and in that same period Okaro White has averaged 15.3 points per game (21.0 in his past four) , and Aaron Thomas has averaged 17.1.
This matchup is strength on strength (FSU's offense vs Maryland's defense) and weakness on weakness (Maryland's offense vs FSU's defense). It should make for a close contest.
The game tips at noon on ESPN, and Maryland is favored by 1-point.