ACC Basketball

ACC Tournament, Quarterfinals: FSU vs. Virginia

Geoff Burke / USA Today Sports / January 18, 2014

Geoff Burke / USA Today Sports / January 18, 2014

The Virginia Cavaliers are ready to prove that their ACC regular season title was no fluke. We all know about the Mr. Softie schedule (only facing Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse and Pittsburgh once), but if they can win their next three games, then that argument goes down the drain, if it’s not already. The fact is, the Cavs won 13 straight games. I don’t care who you play, that’s impressive. Yes, they lost to Maryland to end the season, but that game was meaningless, so I can’t fault any team for having a let down.

Under Tony Bennett, the Cavaliers are again known for their defense, 4th best in Adj. Efficiency, according to my man KenPom. They’re solid guarding the three line (50th in the nation), but even better inside the arc (9th) and they keep opposing teams off the boards. However, the difference this season is that the offense isn’t dragging the team down. Led by sophomore Malcolm Brogdon and his 116.3 offensive rating, Virginia has the nation’s 25th most efficient offense. They rebound, rarely turn it over and can hit the long ball. If they have one fault, it’s at the free throw line (295th in KenPom).

Florida State earned a trip to the quarterfinals with a 67-65 victory over Maryland, thanks to a dunk by Boris Bojanovsky with 0.4 seconds on the clock. Of course lost in the victory was the fact that the Seminoles didn’t actually play a great game. They didn’t shoot well and turned it over 19 times, while handing out just nine assists. Those numbers won’t earn them a victory against Virginia.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS: Virginia over FSU, 62-50. Virginia over FSU, 78-66
Down in Tallahassee, the Cavaliers jumped all over the Seminoles early, opening up a double-digit lead at halftime and never letting FSU get close. Four Cavaliers scored in double figures, as they forced 16 turnovers. In the rematch, Virginia again stormed out of the gate, leading by 16 just ten minutes into the game. From that point on they put it on cruise control. Again, four players scored in double figures.

If Florida State wants to have any shot at beating Virginia the key will be getting off to a good start. In the first 10 minutes of their two meetings, the Cavaliers have outscored the Seminoles, 42-16. However, it’s just hard to see how Florida State holds onto the ball against this defense. Against Virginia, they have just 19 assists to 34 turnovers, while the Cavs have 27 assists to just 15 turnovers. Maybe against Maryland they could get away with that because, like the Seminoles, the Terrapins are also loose with the ball, but Virginia has no such problem.

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