The third seeded Florida State Seminoles (24-5, 12-4 ACC) will take on the sixth seeded Miami Hurricanes (21-9, 10-6 ACC) at 8pm tonight in the ACC tournament semifinals in the Greensboro Coliseum. The game will be broadcast regionally by Fox Sports. Miami advanced to the quarterfinals with a 68-60 win over Wake Forest last night. The winner will face the winner of the Notre Dame - Virginia Tech game which will tip at 6pm.
This will be the third meeting this year between the Noles and the Canes. FSU has won both previous meetings this year. The first was a 105-67 drubbing in Tallahassee on Jan. 11th. The second game was a 91-71 FSU victory in Coral Gables on Feb. 11th. However, UM has had FSU’s number in the ACC tournament. This is the third year in a row that the two rivals have met in this tournament. Last year the Canes upset the Noles 56-54. In 2016 UM beat FSU 74-56. The big difference this year is that Miami was ranked in the top 25 both of those years. This Cane squad is not quite as potent as those previous editions.
Florida State remains elite offensively at 12th nationally in OPPP. The Noles are a more pedestrian 65th in DPPP. In contrast the Hurricanes are 128th in OPPP and 42nd in DPPP. However, the biggest difference between these two teams may be on the backboards. FSU ranks first in the ACC in rebounding margin (10.8) while Miami is ninth (2.9). This played out in the first game as Florida State outrebounded UM 45-28. In the second game FSU had a 43-29 advantage. It might be too much to ask for the Canes to actually beat FSU on the boards but that kind of deficit will lead to a third straight loss for UM.
Erykah Davenport is Miami’s best player but she struggled in the first game in Tallahassee with only two points and three rebounds. She bounced back in the second game with 21 points and 12 boards. Mykea Gray has been consistent for the Canes all year but she has been held relatively in check by FSU as she has had only 19 total points against the Seminoles in the two games. Kelsey Marshall has been the only Cane to have double figures in both games against FSU with 11 and 10 points in each game.
Miami won’t give FSU this game but the fact is that the Noles simply have more talent this year up and down the roster. If Florida State plays anywhere near their potential they will take their third in a row against the Canes and start preparing for a likely matchup with Notre Dame on Saturday. According to Sagarin Florida State is a 10 point favorite against Miami.