Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
After a huge win against Duke that put national spotlight on the team, the 'Canes must avoid a let down against their arch-rivals, Sunday afternoon.
Duke came into town and they got "rocked like a hurricane". We all had fun and celebrated the victory like no other, but it's time for all of us to flip the page. Yes, the Florida State Seminoles are in town and the Hurricanes are playing their best basketball of the season. After the unbelievable display against the Blue Devils, the 'Canes must come out strong and blow the roof off the BUC, once again. We visited with Michael Rogner from Tomahawk Nation for some question and answers regarding all-time starting lineups and the huge game between the two teams on Sunday.
SOTU: Miami's defense has been outstanding so far in ACC play, allowing just 55.4 points a game en route to their 5-0 start. What have you seen in the Miami defense that has been so effective? What do the Seminoles have to do to get some points on the board against this vastly improved Hurricanes defense?
THN: The 'Canes interior defense should be able to handle FSU, as they do a great job of defending without fouling. FSU's hopes for this game come down to hitting the three. FSU is one of the best 3-pt shooting teams in the country, and Miami is one of the best at defending the three. If FSU can use dribble penetration to get open looks for Michael Snaer, Terry Whisnant, etc... then the Noles might be able to stay in this game.
SOTU: Miami vs Florida State has been a football rivalry throughout the years. The Seminoles won the ACC tittle last season and Miami is much improved this year and is a legit contender to dethrone them this season. With the two teams improving so rapidly, what do you look forward to in upcoming Miami vs FSU games to transfer some of the hate from the football field on to the hardwood?
THN: Unfortunately, both schools are football schools. I'm one of the rare Seminole fans who care far more deeply about basketball than about football. I think it's awesome that non-Triangle teams are competing in the ACC, but I honestly don't ever see fans caring as much about this game as they do about the football game. Shoot, a third of the way through last season a lot of Seminole fans were calling for Leonard Hamilton's head. It's just a different world.
SOTU: FSU is 3-2 in ACC play and has shown some inconsistent play this year. What has been the biggest difference in the team in the three conference wins as opposed to the two games that they have dropped to North Carolina and Virginia?
THN: Two of the three wins came against Clemson, and FSU is just a better team than them. They defend them well. The win at Maryland was very unexpected and probably the best defensive effort I've seen out of this team. The UNC and Virginia games were very different animals. Against UNC, FSU gave up a higher percentage of offensive rebounds than any game they've played since 1999 (as far as I could easily research). And Virginia was just a cluster on the offensive end.
But you're right. Inconsistency has been the name of the game. I have no idea what to expect on a nightly basis.
SOTU: On Wednesday night, the entire Miami team came ready to play and Duke had absolutely no answer to the 'Canes defensively. Which match-up or player do you think will cause the Seminoles the most trouble?
THN: Shane Larkin. Small, quick guards can cause fits for the FSU defense. The new guys don't understand their rotations on defense, so when a guard can break them down off the dribble then 50% of the time a guy is going to be uncovered. One player will make one read, and another player will make a different read, and the whole system breaks down.
That's the difference between this year's team and last. FSU lost six seniors, but the current roster is more talented by a significant degree. Unfortunately, they don't understand the system so Hamilton has had to keep things very vanilla and they still don't know where they're supposed to be.
The Noles are still a year away from being a really good team.
SOTU: If you had to pick an all-time starting five for the Seminoles, who would you go with?
THN: Great question. Dave Cowens is a lock - the guy averaged 19 points and over 17 rebounds before going on to a great NBA career. I'll pair him in the front court with Al Thornton, who is the player most responsible for helping Coach Hamilton turn FSU from a doormat to an annual contender. I'll take three guards in the back court and go with Bob Sura, Toney Douglas and Michael Snaer. This leagues off guys like Jim Oler, Mitchell Wiggins, Doug Edwards and Charlie Ward, but what are you gonna do?
SOTU: To finish this up, how do you expect Miami and FSU to approach this game and how do you see the game playing out at the end? Who wins?
THN: FSU is going to do everything they can to speed up the tempo. They want to speed up Miami's offense to try and force mistakes, and the Noles will want to get into transition when they have the ball, which is where they're most comfortable. Ultimately, I think Miami will be able to control the tempo, and with two of the five experienced guys either out (Terrance Shannon) or severely hobbled (Ian Miller) I just don't see how FSU stays in this game.
Thanks again to Michael for working with us. Be sure to head over to Tomahawk Nation, to see our answers for his questions, and don't forget to tune in to this rivalry game between your Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State seminoles, Sunday afternoon at 6:00 PM EST. on ESPNU.