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Inside the box score: FSU vs Miami

Leonard Hamilton has now beaten Miami eight straight times

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
FSU Miami basketball box score
  1. All five Miami starters played at least 34 minutes. Jim Larranaga isn’t known for going deep into his bench, but this year he has the oldest team in the ACC as well as seven blue-chip recruits on the roster. A key injury could decimate this team. The average age of his starters is 22.7 years. By season’s end only one will be under the age of 22. Miami is currently 81st in the NET rankings and Larranaga hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since back-to-back 1st round upset losses in 2017 and 2018. Meanwhile, the media picked them 12th in the conference. And rather than admit that they misjudged the team, they’ll double-down on their original voting and it’s possible that Larranaga may win coach of the year. All of this while assembling a very fireable resume. Fun times in Coral Gables.
  2. This is the first game this season where a defensive game plan was geared almost entirely to stop one player. Miami gapped Caleb Mills on the catch for a full 40 minutes. He did get five open looks from deep, but failed to knock down a single one. Luckily, his teammates, played straight up, were able to score just enough to win against one of the worst defenses in the ACC. But this is exactly what FSU wants out of Caleb Mills - defenses gearing to stop him, and him responding with playmaking for others. That second part happening is one key to the rest of the season.
  3. Matthew Cleveland is a changed man. During the Covid pause he went 20 days between games. The Cleveland we’ve seen after the pause has been a completely different player. His stats are up virtually across the board.

The 3-pt% should obviously be taken with a grain of salt as he’s only attempted three in the past four games, but this is a development curve is similar to what we saw with Jonathan Isaac. Rather than the slow burn development which is hard to monitor from players like Terance Mann, this could be the big-leap-forward development from guys like Isaac. If this leap forward is real, and he’s able to make another one later in the season, Florida State could be looking at another one-and-done.

4. There has been a ton of talk about rebounding on the message boards of late. Meanwhile, FSU quietly dominated the glass against the Hurricanes. Offensively, FSU grabbed 42% of their own misses which is well above the NCAA average of 28.4%. Defensively, the Seminoles secured 79.3% of their chances, again well above the NCAA average of 71.6%. FSU’s defensive rebounding struggles have been well documented in the past, and are largely a function of how the ‘Noles play defense and how they flow into transition offense. But it should be noted that this team is currently the best defensive rebounding team at FSU since the 2018-19 ‘Noles squad which featured five NBA draft picks.

5. Florida State won 65-64 in a 62 possession game. Miami did a good job of controlling tempo, and Florida State hasn’t played a game with fewer possessions since the 2019 ACC Tournament win over Virginia. The last non-Virginia game with fewer possessions was against another notoriously slow team - the 2018 Villanova Wildcats.