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FSU basketball: Miami preview

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

The middle of the ACC is a cluster. The bottom four seeds for the ACCT are set, but a team playing decent basketball will end up as the 10 seed. Nobody is sitting on five or six conference wins, but half the league has won seven to nine games. There are 1000s of possible permutations for the final standings and if FSU wants to be higher on that list, a win at 7-7 Miami would be huge.

Since these two last met both have gone 3-3. The Hurricanes are coming off a heartbreak loss at Louisville in a game they led by three with just over a minute left. They watched freshman Deandre Burnett turn it over twice in a span of 40 seconds and Louisville finished on a 5-0 run.

The first time these two met, FSU fell into a 16-point hole in the first half. But behind Montay Brandon's massive 2nd half, the Noles came back and won when Miami missed at the buzzer. That was the first game where FSU's defense played really well in conference play, and they've been able to keep that momentum going. This team will always have issues keeping quick guards out of the paint, but the back line has gotten in sync with help rotations. They'll need to keep it up to pull off the road upset.

Against Miami, FSU's trio of 7-footers found success, making 8-11 shots, and FSU shot 59% overall on 2s. That same attack will likely be on display tonight. The other key is turning defensive stops into quick buckets.

Miami shoots more 3s than any other ACC team, so the 3-point lottery will be in full effect. Transfers Sheldon McClellan (14.9 ppg) and Angel Rodriguez (12.3 ppg) are the high volume shooters. McClellan has made 38% of his 3s in conference play, while Rodriguez has made just 24%. Sophomore Davon Reed doesn't take a ton, but he's made 51% in ACC play and has the highest offensive rating and eFG% in the conference.

The game tips at 9pm and will be broadcast on RSN/ESPN3. The Hurricanes are 7 ½ point favorites, though FSU has covered the spread in nine of their past 10 games.