Florida State Seminoles vs. Miami Hurricanes
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 – 8:30 PM ET at Watsco Center
COVID has disrupted schedules all season long, and now it’s producing some craziness at the top of the ACC standings.
Technically, Florida State is in first place in the ACC, with an .818 winning percentage, 32 percentage points above Virginia. The Cavaliers have played three more conference games, however, and have an 11-3 ACC record to FSU’s 9-2. That means that, despite having a lower winning percentage than the Seminoles, the Cavaliers have a half-game lead.
Since many of the games that have been postponed aren’t going to be replayed, all Florida State can do is keep winning.
"I'm not sure we are going to change anything we've been doing," Coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We have four games left. We've always used the one game at a time approach. We're trying to prepare ourselves with each practice and each possession of every practice. Obviously, it's a little different in the fact that we are putting even more of a bullseye on your shirt now that you have that level of recognition.”
The Noles have won three straight, including a 21-point beating of Virginia, and eight of their last nine to move to 13-3 overall. On the betting sites, they’re favored to win each of their four remaining regular season games. Three of the four will be on the road, including Wednesday’s trip to rival Miami.
The Hurricanes have the same odd situation going on at the bottom of the standings. They have a better record than Boston College, with a .200 winning percentage to B.C.’s .100, which keeps them out of last place but, at 3-12, the Canes are a half game behind the Eagles (1-9).
Miami has lost three straight and seven of the last eight. They are 7-13 overall.
Noles Looking for Sweep
Florida State hammered Miami in Tallahassee in late January, beating the Canes, 81-59. The Noles were able to dominate the game inside, with their seemingly endless string of big men coming off the bench. Florida State rebounded more than 48 percent of its missed shots in the game, the highest rate the No. 17 team in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage has managed this season. They also dominated the other end, rebounding more than 81 percent of Miami’s misses.
The Noles also hit 26-of-44 on two-point attempts, a .591 percentage, while holding Miami to 11-of-31, .355.
Florida State hasn’t gotten any smaller since that dominant performance, and neither has the Noles’ size advantage.
Still Not Healthy
Miami has been laid low by the injury bug all season long. The Canes lost center Rodney Miller and forward Sam Waardenburg, producing the size mismatch FSU took advantage of in the first game, before the start of the season. They’ve also been playing without star guard Chris Lykes (ankle), swing man Earl Timberlake (shoulder), and forward Matt Cross (dismissed from team), for more than a month each.
Things are getting worse, not better, for the Canes. In their last game, a 27-point home loss to Georgia Tech, the Canes finished the game with five scholarship players available. Harlond Beverly was out with a back problem and did not dress. Isaiah Wong hurt his right ankle and sat out the second half.
Beverly has been playing with a herniated disk since December and has been shut down indefinitely. Wong, Miami’s leading scorer, will likely try to play. "Isaiah has sprained his ankle more times than you can count and he seems to bounce back very, very quickly," coach Jim Larranaga said. "He's gotten treatments at the game, after the game, all day Sunday. He feels like with another day or two of rest he'll be OK to go on Wednesday."
As dominant as FSU was on the inside in the first matchup with Miami, it may not be the area where Florida State has the biggest advantage. The Noles hit 39.4 percent of their threes, which is No. 8 in the nation. With their guards ravaged by injury, Miami’s perimeter defense is No. 399 in the country. The Canes also hit just 29 percent of their own threes, No. 325 in the country.
Florida State can win inside or out, with its starters or its depth, so we're going with them for our NCAAB picks. It’s hard to envision a perfect storm scenario that favors a Miami upset.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.