Welcome to the battle of the tempos. Florida State (11-5, 1-3) is the most uptempo team in the ACC - and the 2nd most uptempo high major in the nation - while Virginia (13-3, 2-2) is the slowest team in the
Under the old rules with the 35-second shot clock and the ability to be really grabby on defense, the Hoos had an easy time controlling tempo in their favor. The past three games between these two teams have all featured 58 or fewer possessions.
Through their first 16 games last year (all wins), Virginia was able to keep half of those games below 60 possessions. This year, they've only managed that three times. Still, they're the slowest team in the nation, and proud of it.
One reason teams go slow is because teams are not as talented as their opponents, and so they want to maximize variance to create upsets. And that was certainly the case when Tony Bennett took over the Cavaliers, as they made the tournament just once in his first four seasons. But now they have eight consensus 4*/5*s players on the roster. So their strategy of limiting possessions may not be working in their favor.
They lost by two to Virginia Tech, who made 9-17 3s. They lost by four to Georgia Tech who made 8-15 3s. Add another ten possessions to either of those games and perhaps the talent of the Cavaliers would have won out.
Regardless, that's the "strategy" for Florida State today. Hope they get hot and have a low possession game work in their favor.
Whether it is the new rules or the loss of Darion Atkins and Justin Anderson, teams are more likely to get hot vs UVA these days. Their 2-pt% defense has fallen from 3rd nationally to 125th. That has opened up more scoring opportunities, as now the stout Virginia defense is ranked just 35th nationally.
The attack is still the same. Tony Bennett's defense is designed to take away drives, and so quick passing and knocking down jumpers becomes more important. FSU has had some good shooting games of late.
Offensively, Virginia is still elite. They have the 5th most efficient offense in the nation.
Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey are both tough interior players who make around 60% of their 2s. London Perrantes (56% from deep) provides a player you can't lose track of, and all-everything Malcolm Brogdon can take over a game. Brogdon (17.0 ppg), Gill (15.1), and Perrantes (11.6) are all scoring in double figures for the season.
A win would bump FSU into a tie with Virginia at 2-3 in the conference, while a loss would drop the Noles to 1-4 with a tough road game at Louisville up next.
The game tips at 6:30 PM and will be broadcast on ESPNU. Virginia is a 4-point favorite.