Florida State Seminoles basketball (5-11, 3-2 ACC) will look to kick off another win streak in conference play, heading to Winston-Salem to face off against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (11-5, 3-2 ACC).
Still trying to climb out of the hole left by a 1-9 start to the season, the Seminoles have won four of the team’s last six games. A major reason for the recent success has been an elevation in play from sophomore Matthew Cleveland, who became the first FSU player to log five straight double-doubles since Doug Edwards in the 1991-92 season.
Wake Forest, meanwhile, has had an up-and-down year, losing to Rutgers and beating the Duke Blue Devils in a matter of days, both by double digits. The Demon Deacons enter Wednesday’s game after surviving a tight game vs. the Louisville Cardinals.
From our SB Nation sister site, Blogger So Dear:
It seems like Wake never makes things easy on themselves. While Wake never trailed and led this game for all but 13 seconds, the Deacs once again allowed a 20+ point lead to wither away and almost found a way to lose to a team with just 2 wins this season. The Cards got a close as 3 points in the final 3 minutes of the game, but Wake Forest was able to make just enough shots to hold on and get their first win on the road at Louisville.
This was basically a must win game, and the Deacs definitely came out of the gates treating it as such. Wake kicked off the game with a quick 8-0 run, assisting on 4 of their first 5 baskets. By the first media timeout, the Deacs were up 13-5 and had already made 3 of their 6 3-point attempts. Wake was moving the ball really well and getting some really great looks at the basket, while Louisville was turning the ball over and taking a lot of contested shots.
A win is a win, but I don’t think any Wake Forest fans probably feel very good about that one. The Deacs had a 22-point lead at one point in the second half, and somehow found themselves on the verge of going to overtime or worse in a little over 10 minutes. It probably has to do with their reliance on 3-point shooting (almost 60% of shot attempts came from beyond the arc today), but it feels like this Wake Forest team just isn’t great at playing with a lead. At the end of the day, I’d still rather be up 20 than down 20.
One major storyline for tonight’s game will be the debut of Baba Miller, who sat out half of the season after being suspended for receiving financial assistance to travel to America for a basketball and then paying it back.
What could Miller’s arrival mean for the Seminoles?
From our Matt Minnick:
FSU’s depth will certainly improve. Guys like Cleveland and Darin Green, Jr. are playing 35+ minutes a game, and in this system, that’s not sustainable. Predictably, we’ve seen FSU wear down in the second half of losses against the Purdue Boilermakers, Duke Blue Devils, St. John’s Red Storm, and Florida Gators. Practice-shape isn’t game-shape, but I’m sure Miller will play at least 15-20 minutes these first few games and that’s 15-20 minutes more rest for the current rotation.
Will the insertion of Miller throw off the building cohesion? Will turnovers spike as guys aren’t used to having him in sets? Will Corhen and Miller, both versatile forwards, even be on the court at the same time? And if so, will they compliment each other, or step on each other’s toes (metaphorically speaking)? Time will tell, but I don’t believe it’s as simple as adding eggs to the flour and whisking.
According to DraftKings, the Seminoles are 8.5-point underdogs to the Demon Deacons, with the over/under set at 150.5 points.
Some notes, via FSU Sports Info:
HAMILTON REACHES 600 CAREER VICTORY PLATEAU; ON HALL FO FAME BALLOT FOR 2023
Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton won his 600th career game as he directed his Seminoles to their 75-64 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. In addition to the victory being his 600th overall coaching win, the win was his 400th at Florida State making him only the fifth coach in ACC history to win 400 games as an ACC coach. Hamilton is one of just 17 active collegiate coaches with at least 600 career victories. As Hamilton continues to cement his legacy as one of the nation’s top coaches, mentors and teachers in life and basketball, he is on the ballot for enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
CLEVELAND PLAYS FOR SIXTH CONSECUTIVE DOUBLE-DOUBLE AGAINST WAKE FOREST
Sophomore Matthew Cleveland, who has earned a personal-best five consecutive double-doubles, enters Wednesday’s game at Wake Forest looking to earn his sixth consecutive double-double. He is the first Seminole to earn five consecutive double-doubles since Douglas Edwards during the 1991-92 season. Cleveland is looking to become the first Seminole since Greg Grady during the 1974-75 season (against Eastern Kentucky, Wisconsin Milwaukee, Biscayne, South Florida, Hofstra and Biscayne) to earn six consecutive double-doubles as Florida State plays Wake Forest on Wednesday night. Cleveland also enters Wednesday’s game looking to become the first Seminole with double-doubles in four consecutive ACC games.
CLEVELAND NAMED TO JULIUS ERVING AWARD WATCH LIST
Florida State’s Matthew Cleveland is on the Julius Erving Watch List as the nation’s top collegiate small forward as named by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. It marks the second consecutive season Cleveland has been named to the initial watch list for the prestigious Julius Erving Award. Cleveland is one of three players from the ACC named to the Julius Erving Watch List. He is joined on the list by Dariq Whitehead of Duke and Leaky Black of North Carolina. The award is named for Julius Erving, who attended the University of Massachusetts (1969-71). He averaged 26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds per game, making him one of only six NCAA men’s basketball players to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game during his career.
SEMINOLES TOTAL 23 ASSISTS ON 30 BASKETS IN VICTORY OVER GEORGIA TECH
Led by junior Caleb Mills’ near career-high of seven assists, Florida State totaled a season-high 23 assists (on 30 baskets) in its victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday in Tallahassee. The school record by an individual player in an ACC game is 13 by Delvon Arrington against Georgia Tech on January 9, 1999, while the team record for assists in an ACC game is 26 in three different games (against NC State, January 15, 1995; against Clemson on February 5, 2017 and against Boston College on February 20, 2017. The all-time Florida State record for assists in a single game is 36 against Baptist College on January 14, 1976. Baptist College is now known as Charleston Southern.
THE MINUTES PLAYED CHART UNDER HAMILTON
Seminole Head Coach Leonard Hamilton is not at all accustomed to his players playing as many minutes as they have been asked to this season. With two Seminoles (Darin Green, Jr. and Matthew Cleveland) averaging more than 33.0 minutes played per game, it marks just the third time in Hamilton’s 21 seasons at Florida State, that multiple Seminoles are averaging 30 minutes or more played per game for a full season. Hamilton asked Seminole great Trent Forrest what he felt the optimum number of minutes a player could play each game, and play well in the Florida State system, at the end of his All-ACC career – Forrest replied in the 23-24 minute range.
Florida State vs. Wake Forest how to watch, TV info
Wednesday, January 11