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Five things: Virginia

Another Prime Time, Saturday night game for FSU

NCAA Basketball: Miami (FL) at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Seminoles host Virginia for a Saturday night matchup, and like most big time college hoops games it’s being broadcast on [checks notes] the CW Network!

1. Virginia has never settled on what the heck to call themselves. Yes, they’re the Cavaliers, but also the Wahoos, the Hoos, and over the years have been the V-Men, the Viginians, and Old Dominion. I like the Hoos, but what’s a hoo? According to the school website, the Washington and Lee baseball team first began referring to the Cavaliers as the Wahoos in the 1890s. So what’s a wahoo? It’s a fish, I know that. But it’s also a shrub, as well as a type of elm. Five states have towns named Wahoo, none of which are Virginia, and of course there’s Ed McDaniel, aka “Chief Wahoo”, a professional wrestler of dubious native decent who, by the way, kicked a 91-yard punt for Oklahoma back in the day.

Why does this matter? It doesn’t. But it keeps us talking about basketball for at least a little bit, which at this point is probably a good thing. Ham and Coach Bennett have been facing off for 15 years, and I can’t think of a single game that was actually enjoyable to watch. Virginia is the slowest team in college basketball, the same as always, and no one outside of the Hoos rooting section likes to watch them play. Yet here we are, again.

2. Virginia has the 8th longest winning streak in the nation (7 games), but are they any good? At the time of their last lost they were 60th at KenPom. Now they’re 57th, so not exactly lighting the world on fire. They did just hold Miami (of FL) to 38 points, but Miami also lost at home to Louisville. In conference play they have the 6th best offense and the 2nd best defense.

3. The one thing they do particularly well is shoot the 3. In ACC play they’re making 40%, which leads the conference, though it’s basically two guys. Sophomore Isaac McKneely has made 54 3s and is shooting 47%, while 12th year senior (if my math is right) Jake Groves has made 35 3s, knocking down half his shots. Reece Beekman is the key to all this. FSU can’t guard him one on one, which means he’ll be living off the bounce all game, and he has the 2nd best assist rate in the nation. In other words, never ever ever help when he drives. He’s looking to pass. What will FSU do? They’ll help.

4. If FSU is going to make the Dance, they can basically lose one more game in the regular season. After that, we’ve truly entered “must win” territory.

5. Chandler Jackson has now missed two straight games with a “coaches decision.” Cam’Ron Fletcher is out for the year. There was an argument to be made to the Committee that FSU’s early struggles could be chocked up to the lack of Primo Spears, but FSU blew that by losing to Clemson and Louisville. Spears failed to score in FSU’s win over Boston College, which is just the 2nd time this year he’s been below double digits, and the 2nd time in two years he’s been scoreless. He’s also committed nine turnovers in the past three games. You’d think the key to beating Tony Bennett’s team would be to maximize possessions and take care of the ball, but several of FSU’s wins vs him have come in high turnover games. So who knows? Play fast and loose. Have fun. Jack it up. This could be Primo’s game.