Tonight’s top-15 matchup between Florida State and Virginia Tech has everything needed to classify as a must-watch game for college basketball fans. The winner will lock up 4th place in the ACC, the last spot given a double-bye in the ACC Tournament, with only one game remaining in the regular season. With both teams currently projected as 4-seeds on Bracket Matrix, NCAA Tournament seeding will also be impacted by the outcome. The game will be imbued with extra emotion for FSU with a pregame Senior Day ceremony for Terance Mann, Phil Cofer, Christ Koumadje, P.J. Savoy, and David Nichols. FSU opened as a 3-point favorite, with KenPom predicting the ’Noles by 1. The Seminoles are 13-3 on Senior Day under Coach Hamilton. The game will tipoff at 7pm and be broadcast on ESPNU.
Looking to spoil the day and leave FSU’s seniors with a loss in their last home game is a Virginia Tech team that ranks 8th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 29th adjusted defensive efficiency (KenPom). Head Coach Buzz Williams informed the media yesterday that injured point guard Justin Robinson will not return for this game. VT has played well in the eight games since Robinson injured his left foot, including a home win over Duke in their last outing. Shooting 48.6% from the field, guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker leads the team in scoring with 16.4 points a game and in steals with 2.1 a game. Center Kerry Blackshear is one of the top performers in the ACC this season, leading the team with 7.3 rebounds a game to go along with his 14.9 scoring average. Led by senior Ty Outlaw at 46% from beyond the arc, the Hokies are the 8th best three-point shooting team in the country. The Hokies distribute the ball well and are an excellent shooting squad.
Mostly employing a zone defense, the Hokies force teams to turn the ball over at a high rate. They like to play at a slower pace than FSU and force their opponents into long possessions. Shots will be available from three for FSU, as usual against a zone, but at 33.5% from deep (good for 223rd in the country) that looks to be a good strategy for VT.
Florida State has protected their home court as well as anyone over the last several seasons, but Virginia Tech will provide the toughest challenge since Duke came to town in January. This matchup is sure to be an exciting game that likely goes down to the wire.
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