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Miami Basketball ACC Opponent Preview: Florida State

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In an effort to bring UM Hoops fans up to speed on their ACC opposition we will preview each and every team in the conference. We will also look at how the 'Canes match up with each squad and what to expect from each team in 2014-15. Today we take a closer look at Leonard Hamilton and FSU.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

After winning the conference tourney in 2012, it appeared as though FSU has turned the corner and worked their way to the upper echelon of the ACC.

But back-to-back NIT appearances may have dampened some of the optimism and slowed the momentum in football frenzied Tallahassee.

This year, however, the Seminoles may have their best roster since that senior laden squad that tore down the nets in Atlanta.

Led by a potential superstar in Aaron Thomas, some veteran bigs, and a few promising youngsters, the Noles might surprise some folks and work their way back towards the top of the conference.

Roster Overview:

The 6'5 Thomas is the key to everything. He is an elite defender, and made a huge leap on the offensive end in averaging 14.9 ppg last year. FSU will need him to play like an All-ACC player to reach their goals.  He is more than capable. Xavier Rathan-Mayes is another talented 2 guard, who had eligibility issues last season. He should be good to go, giving Florida State two outstanding shooting guards. At the point Devon Bookert has been solid of not spectacular his first two seasons in Tallahassee.  FSU needs him to be a better distributor. 6'8 Wing Montay Brandon is versatile enough to play the 1-3 spots, making him a valuable weapon as well. Look for a lot of 3 guard alignments out of FSU.  At the 4, they will miss Okaro White, but Jarquez Smith is an intriguing option. At 6'9 with plenty of skills he should see a ton of burn. 6'7 Freshman Phil Cofer will also get some looks.  Last but not least, C, is another position with plenty of possibilities for the Noles. 7'3 Boris Bojanovsky really showed a lot of improvement last season as an offensive weapon. In the meantime 7'1 292 pound physical specimen Michael Ojo also progressed nicely, especially on defense.  Sixth year Sr. Kiel Turpin is back as well to provide plenty of depth.  Led by Thomas, this is an extremely big and well-rounded roster.

Key Performers:

G Aaron Thomas - 6'5 202 Jr.

G Montay Brandon - 6'8 230 Jr.

G Devon Bookert - 6'2 186 Jr.

C Boris Bojanovsky - 7'3 240 Jr.

What to Expect in 2014-15:

The Noles needs to return to what has worked for them in the Hamilton era and play airtight, top 10 nationally, type defense. Hopefully Hamilton settles on a shorter rotation as well. He often plays too many players to find a good offensive rhythm in my opinion, even though the guy is obviously a great coach. They have enough talent to generate points, especially if they get out in transition. If all breaks right for them, they could be the surprise team of the conference and contend for a top 3 or 4 finish. Anything short of an NCAA berth would be a failure with this much talent.

How they match-up with the 'Canes:


Miami is going to be a lot better this season, but I don't like how they match up with FSU.  Too much size. The teams play twice (2/1 and 2/25). So at least the 'Canes will have 6'10 Ivan Cruz Uceda (eligibility) back, and hopefully 6'6 Davon Reed (injury) back as well.

Stay tuned for more ACC Team previews as we count down to Tip Off