NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida State Seminoles vs. Miami Hurricanes

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

Two teams with nice momentum square off in ACC play when Miami, winner of four of its last five games, hosts Florida State, which has won six of seven, on Wednesday.

The visiting team could have the upper hand when two hot clubs meet in ACC play Wednesday night as the Florida State Seminoles (11-4, 2-2 away) pay a visit to their in-state rivals the Miami Hurricanes (9-6, 4-3 home) at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, FL at 9:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Florida State as a small road favorite for this contest with the current line at -1½ with odds of -116.

Florida State showed its versatility while winning its last two conference games, first using suffocating defense to beat Clemson while holding the Tigers to 30.0 percent shooting and then hitting 16 three-pointers in an 85-61 blowout of Maryland to improve to 11-4 overall.

The Hurricanes got off to a mediocre 5-5 start before their current 4-1 run where the only loss came to undefeated Syracuse, and while two of those wins came vs. a couple of lightweights in Savannah State and Loyola-Maryland, the other two were nice wins vs. La Salle here at home out of conference and North Carolina on the road in conference.

Florida State is now ranked 18th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings as all four of the Seminoles’ losses have come vs. Pomeroy Top 40 teams in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia in their ACC opener before that last two dramatically different conference wins as we described earlier. The Seminoles also have three wins already vs. Pomeroy Top 40 teams as they have prepared well for ACC play facing a schedule ranked 27th in the country in SOS.

The trademark of the Florida State team for several years has been still defense, and the Noles have taken that to a whole new level this season ranking sixth in the country in defensive efficiency and an amazing second in effective field goal percentage allowed at 41.0 percent. That stiff defense should make things difficult on a Miami team that has not shot the ball well all season.

Granted the 16-for-24 explosion from three-point land on Sunday was an aberration, but the Seminoles are still decent enough offensively given their defense, as they rank a respectable 72nd in the nation in effective field goal percentage at 52.0 percent.

The Hurricanes come off of a dream season where they finished 29-7 and earned a two-seed in the NCAA Tournament where they were bounced in the Sweet 16 by Marquette 71-61. However, the Hurricanes lost all five starters from that team and return just one player that was a regular part of the 2012-13 rotation in guard Rion Brown, so this team is certainly a work-in-progress.

All things considered, being ranked 65th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings at this early stage of the season with a totally revamped roster is actually a nice achievement and a testament to Coach Jim Larranaga. Still, the Canes do lag far behind Florida State’s 18th ranking and Miami has not really had that much of a home court advantage thus far going only 4-3 in Coral Gables.

The biggest problem has been an offense that is ranked just 163rd in efficiency and a ghastly 254th in effective field goal percentage at a mere 47.5 percent. That does not figure to change here vs. what has been one of the best defenses in the country through the early going, so we really do not even see Miami reaching its already low season average of 63.5 points per game here, which ranks 328th out of 351 Division I schools.

Thus, look for Florida State to improve to 3-1 inside the ACC with an impressive road win on Wednesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida State -1½ (-116)