We're two games into the ACC Tournament, and we have two one-point losses, with both losing teams missing point blank shots at the buzzer. Now, Florida State and Clemson are set to tip off day two of the tourney. The winner advances to Thursday, where the top four seeds wait through double-byes. In this case, the winner gets No. 1 seed Virginia.
Clemson and Florida State have met twice this season, and both games were ugly. Neither team has managed a point per possession versus the other, with FSU winning 59-56 at Clemson, and the Tigers winning 62-56 in Tallahassee. No team has scored 30 by halftime.
This late in the season we know exactly what to expect. Clemson struggles to shoot. Their primary offensive weapon is derived from grabbing their own misses. In two games vs FSU, Clemson has made just 40% of their 2s and 31% of their 3s. Sophomore Jaron Blossomgame, at 13.1 points per game, is the only player on the roster averaging at least nine.
But their defense is very strong, bordering on elite. Only Virginia and Louisville defended better in conference. When FSU beat Clemson, the Noles dominated inside, making 58% of their 2s. In the loss the Noles made just 38%. FSU's 7-foot trio needs to do a solid job in the post. If that happens, it could open up some angles of attack for the Seminole perimeter.
A loss and Florida State's season is over. A win, and there's an outside shot at the NIT, or there is the CBI if FSU wants to play. Two wins, and FSU will in all likelihood be NIT bound, but we'll worry about tomorrow tomorrow.
The game tips at noon from Greensboro and will be broadcast on ESPN. The Tigers are a 1-point favorite.
Since this could be Kiel Turpin's last game in a Seminole uniform, I wanted to add this video of him after the win over Pitt on Senior Day. Good stuff about his time here in Tallahassee:
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8aHBvFXIA9Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Also, listen to Coach Hamilton give a rare glimpse into his emotions regarding how he feels about Kiel:
--"I go back so far with Kiel and his family--his father and I were extremely close. I always get emotional when I talk about Kiel because I probably knew him before he was born. [The Pitt game] was really an effort inspired by him...last night when we had our team meeting, he asked the players to play for him. His family, unfortunately from being where they are, have been to several games, but not seen Kiel when a basketball game (at FSU). they all flew in here sometime during the week...to be with him on his last game, so it meant an awful lot to him. I thought our players were inspired by an elevated focus and effort because they didn't want him to lose a game on his last home game here...I thought our effort was inspired by two things: Number 1, our respect for Pittsburgh and how well they execute...[Number 2] their love and commitment to their teammate who they have grown to be very fond of." --Leonard Hamilton after the Pitt game.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes also spoke about what it meant to have Kiel go out a winner, and about his own journey to Florida State:
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/m-vGKIjs4TE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>