Florida State has won two straight games, both on the road, and now turns its attention to rival Miami, which is 6-3 in ACC play, all three losses coming on the road and in their last road games. house. Vegas expects this to be close, much closer than I originally thought, so we should have a very close game on our hands.
This game will be at 7 pm on ESPNU, live from the Donald L Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, FL. #PackTheTuck
Miami Hurricane Breakdown
Miami got off to a 13-1 start this season, with wins over really good teams like Providence, Virginia, Rutgers and NC State, all of which are in KenPom’s top 50 teams. Since then, they have lost three of their last five games to Georgia Tech (BAD loss), NC State and Duke. Both of their wins in this recent stretch came at home, one over a bad Boston College team and the other over a solid Syracuse team. All the losses came along the way (insert eyeball emoji here).
This is one of the best offenses in the country, ranking eighth in KenPom’s offensive efficiency rankings, and it’s largely thanks to his excellent guard play. They are in the top 50 in effective field goal percentage at 53.6%, in the top 50 in turnover percentage at 16.4%, in the top 50 in offensive rebounding rate at 33.4 %, top 35 in 2pt% at 54.7%, top 30 in FT% at 76.6%, and they make a respectable 34.4% of their three-pointers, though they can get hot quickly.
Defensively, they are more opportunistic than anything else. They are in the top 50 in block rate and in the top 80 in steal rate, but they are in the middle of the road on 2 and 3 point defense and are horrendous on the defensive glass. If you can take care of basketball, you will have a chance to score against Miami.
Leading the way is Isaiah Wong, who was my vote for ACC Preseason Player of the Year. He has been consistent and good, 16.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.7 APG and 1.5 SPG on 44.8/35.2/82.3 split shots and turning up less than twice a game despite posting a 24% usage rate. It’s hard to say how good he is at dribbling, he just has a way of taking down defenders and making them pay for giving him any amount of space. He can end up in traffic, end up with high level 3 point shots…really any way possible. He was only 2/8 against Duke, but coach Larranaga announced that Wong has been dealing with a sinus infection, which would explain that. I expect FSU to be quite physical with him.
Jordan Miller has made a solid step up since last season and is now averaging 15.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.2 APG and 1.3 SPG on 52.2/35.6/81.4 shooting splits. He’s been killing it inside the arc, shooting 58.8% on his 2-pointers. As the 4 man on this team, he has more rebounding responsibility than most with his 6’6″ size, and he does a solid job, but he’s such an efficient scorer. His biggest improvement has been at the free throw line ; a 72.4% career shooter and is now shooting 81.4% from the line.
Despite standing at 6’7″, Norchad Omier is a rebounding and defensive beast, someone FSU pursued on the transfer portal last offseason. KenPom will take note of a player if he’s in the top 500 in a certain stat. ., so this is everything Omier is a standout player at: offensive rating (185), effective field goal percentage (89), true shooting percentage (97), offensive rebounding rate (13), shooting rate defensive rebounds (59), block rate (132), free throw rate (258), and 2pt% (135) He is averaging a double-double with 13.0 PPG and 10.4 RPG, including 4.6 offensive rebounds, and is shooting 62.8% on 2pt shots Just a hyper efficient, high energy player
Nijel Pack was one of the biggest transfer wins of the offseason for anyone, but he’s been okay so far for Miami, averaging 11.9 PPG on 40.4/38.0/82.4 shooting splits. He rarely shoots free throws, and more than half of his shots are 3s. He came in as one of the most feared 3-point shooters in the country with a career 42.3% shooting rate at Kansas State, but he’s averaging the points lowest of his career. rebounds, FG%, 3pt% and steals. He’s still a respectable shooter, but he hasn’t lived up to what they thought they were getting.
Wooga Poplar is the defensive specialist in the lineup, posting a 4.1% steal rate, among the top 50 nationally. He’s not a great shooter, just a 31% 3, so out of all the guards, you want him to shoot the ball more than anyone, but he knows the role of him.
Bensley Joseph is a good backup guard and gives them good shooting at 38.5% on almost 3 attempts per game. Harlond Beverly gives them good defensive minutes, but he’s not normally a good scorer, although his two biggest games of the season have come in the last four games, basically saving them against Syracuse with 16 points. You’ll see Anthony Walker quite a bit, but those are really the only guys you’ll see play.
Breakdown of Florida State Seminoles
After a streak in which they’ve won back-to-back road games, FSU is feeling a little better about itself than it was a few weeks ago. Now they return home to play two of the highest ranked teams in the ACC today, starting with Miami. FSU has dominated this series of late, winning 9 in a row and 11 of the last 12, since the start of the 2016/17 season. Miami’s only win came in Coral Gables in 2018. It can be argued that Miami should have won one of the games last year; it was their best team in years and FSU’s worst team in years, yet they lost every game last season by a single point.
The game in Tallahassee last year was an incredible back-and-forth affair that saw RayQuan Evans hit free throws in the last second of the game to give the ‘Noles the lead. The game in South Florida couldn’t have been more different with FSU holding a 43-19 halftime lead before Miami had an improbable second half, outscoring FSU 41-18, enough for FSU to get the victory by 1 point.
While FSU’s chances of getting an NCAA at-large bid have been out of the window for a long time, how likely is it that they’ll be able to make it to the ACC Tournament in March? Nothing is impossible, all you have to do is look at the Virginia Tech team from last year. VT was just 19-12 in the regular season and 11-9 in ACC play, starting 2-7 in ACC play before heating up down the stretch, going 9-2 in its last 11 ACC games and winning four. consecutive tournament games to win the ACC championship. FSU has been finding a bit of a rhythm, could they possibly replicate this? The ACC really isn’t that strong this year, with Virginia being the only “good team”, but even they have already lost 2 games in ACC play, and I’m not buying Clemson right now.
Part of why FSU is finding a rhythm is that they seem to have a steady turnover now that he’s used to his workload. Their starters of Jalen Warley, Caleb Mills, Darin Green Jr, Matthew Cleveland and Cameron Corhen give this team the best chance to win and they are playing their best basketball right now. Baba Miller joining the rotation gives them a solid 12-18 minutes, and it’s only going to get better. Chandler Jackson has played very well the last few weeks and can give the team a solid 8-12 minutes (I want him to see a few more). Then you only need a few minutes of Tom House, De’Ante Green or Naheem McLeod to have a solid 8-man rotation. It’s much better than it was at the beginning of the season when they played a 6-man rotation.
Jaylan Gainey is out for the season with an ACL injury.
Cam’Ron Fletcher is out for the season with a knee injury.
Jeremiah Bembry is expected to sit out for the season.
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Isaiah Wong has been battling sinusitis and played against Duke. I have to imagine he plays, though flights don’t normally help with sinus infections.
G: Jalen Warley
G: Caleb’s Mills
G: Darin Green Jr.
F: Matthew Cleveland
F: Cameron Corhen
G: Isaiah Wong
Package G: Nijel
G: Poplar Wooga
G: Jordan Miller
F: Norchad Omier
Miami has a team with a lot of guards and can be happy with 3 from time to time. It will take a very solid defense against Isaiah Wong, Nijel Pack and Jordan Miller. FSU has struggled to contain dribbles all season, allow paint touches, and then open up kickoff 3. That can’t happen in this game. Keep your man in front of you and don’t allow him, especially Wong, to deteriorate and get comfortable.
wear your size
Miami has a very small list. Their tallest player in the lineup, Norchad Omier (6’7″), is just an inch taller than the shortest player in FSU’s starting lineup, Jalen Warley (6’6″). This fits perfectly into FSU’s all-trading scheme, they’ll just have to be careful when trading Wong and Pack. Keeping Omier off the offensive glass will be important though, he is in the top 15 nationally in offensive rebound rate. FSU needs to use his size correctly to keep Omier off the glass and abuse Miami on the offensive end. Post, finish through contact, and make Miami physical.
Florida State shot an outstanding 50% from 3 on the road at Pitt, something I don’t exactly expect to continue. However, FSU needs to be efficient overall off the ground. If they can finish around 50% in 2s, 37% in 3s, and a turnover rate of less than 17%, they will have a great chance in this game. Caleb Mills, Darin Green Jr and Matthew Cleveland are going to have to have big games.
Miami opened as a 5.5-point favorite, with a plus/minus of 150.5; since then the line has moved to 3.5.
I expected the line to be somewhere around 7.5 and would have comfortably had FSU covering the spread. Now, you really have to think about it. Miami has lost 3 of its last 5, but it’s by a total of 10 points, and both of its wins in that stretch were by a combined 20 points (a 16-point win over Boston College with that). Am I really taking Florida State here? I think I’m getting his 10th straight win in this series.
FSU 77 Miami 74
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