Times they are a changin’. The NCAA dropped a bomb last Wednesday, and for the first time in a while, it actually benefitted Miami. On top of that, the Canes beat the #1 team in the country, Duke, by 27 points at home, at a game where several of South Florida’s top recruits were in attendance. Things are looking up in Coral Gables.
Something else is changing, too: The target in the ACC. For the entire preseason and the first half of the regular season, the ACC was considered to be a two horse race between Duke and NC State. After Miami lost to Indiana State, the whole conference had all but discredited the Canes as a legitimate contender for the crown.
And then Wednesday happened, and all of a sudden, Miami is sitting 5-0 with a two game lead in the conference.
What does that mean going forwards? It means that for every game the rest of the season, the Canes will be getting their opponents’ best shot. On top of this being a great chance for FSU to get back in to the conference title race, this is a huge rivalry game. The Noles are coming at Miami with everything they have, you better believe that.
Florida State Scoting Report
To say that this season has been a let down for the Seminoles would be an understatement. They came in to the season ranked 25th in the AP poll, and then proceeded to lose their first game to South Alabama. They followed that up with a quality loss to Mercer (see: sarcasm), and an absolute beat down courtesy of the Florida Gators at home by 25.
The numbers tell us that Miami should kill Florida State. They scored 36 points against Virginia. For the entire game. Their defense that carried them a year ago is no longer anything more than average – they rank 152nd in the nation in terms of defensive efficiency. Truth be told, their offense is no better, as they rank 142nd in the country in offensive efficiency. Miami, meanwhile, ranks 101st in offensive efficiency and 30th in defensive efficiency. Florida State averages 33 rebounds per game, placing them last in the ACC. Miami, on the contrary, averages 37 rebounds a game, which ranks them 6th in the conference. So yeah, the numbers are on Miami’s side.
And yet, I’m worried. Nothing about this FSU team in particular has me worried. They’re a solid three point shooting team, but Miami is awesome at defending the three point shot (just ask Duke). Frankly, that’s the only thing on the stat sheet that should worry me. But I’m worried anyways. It feels like we’re in for a let down. College basketball is crazy sometimes, and FSU upsetting Miami would just fit the script perfectly.
Key for the Canes
Go to sleep early Saturday night. Okay, fine, that isn’t a truly important part of the game plan. If I had to pick one thing in particular, I’d pick defend the arc, like I did for the Duke game. But my main concern isn’t our defense so much as the Canes getting up for this game. It seems hard not to get motivated for a rivalry game, but after such an emotional win against Duke, it just seems possible. So while defending the three point shot should all but seal this one up for Miami, it’s more important that the team gets their head right before game time.
I’ve made my feelings clear throughout this post, if I do say so myself. There’s nothing that says that Miami should lose this game, but I think that it is way more possible than a lot of people will admit. I have a lot of faith in Jim Larranaga as a coach, and because of that, I think he will be able to keep the team focused and motivated on a game to game basis. I have the Canes winning this one by 15, but don’t count your chickens before they hatch, Canes fans. Final score: 72-57, Miami.