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FSU basketball: Virginia preview

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Five ACC teams are done for the year. No more games. No more practice. But FSU is still playing. Was the win over Clemson enough to get into the post season? We don't know. At this point it doesn't matter. All that matters right now is the next opponent, and in this case that next opponent happens to be the No. 3 team in the nation.

The Cavaliers have had a remarkable run, going 32-4 in conference the past two seasons (35-4 counting the ACCT). That's the best run in the ACC since Mike Krzyzewski's completely dominant late 90s teams that went 46-2 over a 3-year span.

So the opponent is formidable, and the odds don't look great for Florida State. Ken Pomeroy pegs UVA as a 13-point favorite, and 13-point favorites win about 93% of the time.

FSU will have to play their best game of the season.

UVA's defense steals souls. It was rough when FSU only mustered 41 points the first time these two matched up, but not so bad when compared to the six teams that couldn't even score 40. Three days after FSU lost 51-41, the Hoos beat Wake Forest 70-34. And Wake wasn't even the low for an ACC team. Georgia Tech scored 28.

The Noles were able to stay close in that first game - UVA pulled away at the end - but the Noles couldn't close the deal because they couldn't make 3s. Devon Bookert missed all five of his attempts. The team made just 4-19. FSU has to shoot well to have a chance. And it wouldn't hurt for Xavier Rathan-Mayes to have one of those games.

Defensively, the Noles held Virginia to one of their worst performances of the year. Some of that, however, was because UVA made just 14-27 free throws. Virginia's offense is crisp and efficient, and FSU will have to dig deep to slow them down.

One thing that will have to change is how the game is called. The first time Virginia was whistled for just 9 fouls in the entire game, which is the fewest vs FSU in at least 15 years (for as long as I have good data). Virginia is extremely physical. They chuck every cutter. They live in the legal gray zone on screens. FSU needs a crew that is fired up about calling fouls.

The game should be ugly, with lots of stoppages, and a sprinkling of Florida State 3s. If that is what happens, then there's a chance. The winner advances to the semi finals to face Louisville or North Carolina.

The game tips at noon and will be broadcast on ESPN.