Before the season, Canes fans probably circled the home game against UNC on the schedule and said something to the extent of "Phew, we can take a break after that." Every team left on Miami’s schedule, save for a home game against Virginia and a road game at Duke, are against teams below .500 in the ACC.
This season didn’t exactly go as we all expected, however. This team is way better than anybody realistically thought it would be. After the UNC game, most people probably had this as a three horse race between Duke, NC State and UNC for the top spot in the conference, with the Canes having a chokehold on no worse than 4th. That isn’t how things have played out, at all. Miami enters their game against Florida State with a two game lead, and a target on their back larger than they’ve ever seen in the program’s history. We’ve reached the "every game is a trap game" portion of the schedule, ladies and gentlemen. When you’ve had as much success as Miami has had this season, it’s hard to get up for games against inferior opponents.
That brings us to this game, at Florida State. Truth be told, this is probably FSU’s national championship game. Barring a miracle run in the ACC tournament, this team does not look NCAA bound, with only one win against the RPI top 50. To them, what would be better than beating their biggest rival, at home, and giving them their first loss in conference? In an overall disappointing season, probably nothing.
Vegas agrees with my general assessment that this could be a let down game for the Canes – they opened as only 4.5 point favorites against FSU. After holding them to 47 points and beating them by 24 just a few weeks ago, that number seems really low to me. I know the game was in Coral Gables, but still – that’s a big difference. On the bright side, the Canes have been receiving a vast majority of the money in this game, so much so that the line is already up to 6.
Florida State Scouting Report
Very little has changed since the last time these two teams played in Miami. Florida State is coming off a poor loss against Wake Forest, where they lost by 25 and were outrebounded by 20 (!!!!!!). Miami only outrebounded the Noles by 5 the last time these two teams met and still won the game by 24. It doesn’t bode well for FSU that they’ve struggled mightily offensively this season and Miami has been elite defensively. The Noles rank 203rd in the nation in offensive efficiency (this has actually gotten worse since the last meeting, when they were 142nd overall), and the Canes now rank 29th defensively in efficiency, compared to 30th in the last meeting.
Michael Snaer was held to just 4 points in the last meeting, his lowest output of the season. Snaer shot just 2-5 from the field and did not hit a single three pointer in the game. If Durand Scott locks down Snaer again, Florida State is going to struggle to score in a big way, as they did last time. It’s imperative that FSU finds a way to get Snaer some open looks, or else they’re going to struggle all night once again.
I see no reason to expect a different result than last time these two teams played. The line opening so low has scared me a bit, but it is comforting to know that it has moved in Miami’s favor and not vice versa. I refuse to believe that the Canes fail to get motivated for a rivalry game on enemy territory, and for that reason, I’ll assume another comfortable victory. The Canes get their twelfth straight, winning this one 73-57.