Feb. 29, 2012
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Senior Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State’s players and coaches all know they will have to be better Thursday night against Virginia than they were in a 16-point loss to Miami in their last outing.
FSU (19-9, 10-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) is now on its first two-game league losing streak since 2010. After falling to then-No. 4 Duke in a close game last week, the Seminoles scored just 20 first-half points a few days later in the loss to the Hurricanes.
If it wasn’t easy to score in Coral Gables, it won’t be any less challenging in Charlottesville, Va. as Virginia (21-7, 8-6) ranks second in the country in scoring defense at 52.2 points per game. In the first meeting between the two, the ‘Noles were held to just 58 points in the win — the team’s second-lowest output in ACC games this year.
“Every possession is important,” FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Look back at the Miami game. We missed three layups and walked on three baskets that we very easily could have made. Then if we had been up a little more we probably could have weathered that little storm at the end [of the first half] and not lost our momentum.”
After winning 10 of 11 ACC games over the course of a month and a half, the Seminoles have come back down to earth in last week.
Prior to the Duke loss, FSU was in position to win the league’s regular-season title but now is focused on securing a top-four seed in the ACC Tournament and thus ensuring a beneficial bye in the opening round next week in Atlanta, Ga.
If Florida State wants to get its 11th win of the year and then close out the regular season with a 12th victory Sunday for senior day, controlling its opponent’s outside shooting will be critical. FSU hasn’t played as well offensively as they did during a seven-game ACC winning streak but the defense has been susceptible to the long ball in recent games.
Duke buried 13 3-pointers in its win at the Donald L. Tucker Center and then Miami connected for nine of its own at the BankUnited Center.
Virginia averages just five made 3-pointers per game but that doesn’t mean the Cavaliers won’t try to exploit a weakness that has plagued FSU in back-to-back losses.
“This will be our main emphasis in these practices,” senior Deividas Dulkys said Tuesday. “Not getting beat and playing as good 1-on-1 defense as good as we can and cause the least help that we have to.”
FSU has gone 1-for-3 in its Atlantic Coast Conference rematches so far this season with its one victory coming against Virginia Tech in early February.
When it comes to playing a team for a second time, Hamilton said its all about finding that competitive edge.
“They understand us, we understand them,” he said about Virginia. They’re going to be prepared and so are we.”
|Stat Comparison||Florida State||Virginia|
|FG Percentage Defense||.376||.387|
|3-Pointers Per Game||5.8||5.0|
|Assists Per Game||11.8||12.4|
|Turnovers Per Game||16.5||11.3|
|Blocked Shots Per Game||6.1||2.9|
|Steals Per Game||8.0||6.5|