Virginia fans knew however the first game of day two in the 2014 ACC Tournament shook out, they were going to have a battle on their hands Friday.
Well, Florida State needed a buzzer-beating dunk (yes, you read that correctly) to beat the Terrapins, sending them unceremoniously to the Big Ten. With the win, FSU moves on to face Virginia in the noon game on Friday.
Boris Bojanovsky delivered the game winning slam, finishing with twelve points, twelve rebounds, a block, and an assist in 32 quality minutes off the bench. Ian Miller led the Seminoles with 17 points, and Aaron Thomas chipped in 14 of his own.
The Seminoles shot 48.1% from the field, and went 4-12 beyond the arc while also out rebounding Maryland 39-26.
Let's look at Friday's matchup.
Projected Florida State starting lineup:
G- Montay Brandon (So., 6-7, 216)
G- Aaron Thomas (So., 6-5, 195)
G- Ian Miller (Sr., 6-3, 197)
F- Okaro White (Sr., 6-9, 204)
C- Michael Ojo (So., 7-1, 290)
Storylines to watch:
This will be tough- Virginia and Florida State have already met twice this season, with the good guys winning both games by 12. The Hoos traveled to Tallahassee to open their ACC schedule back on 4 January, ending a 10-game losing streak at FSU that dated back to 2001. Virginia's win over the Seminoles was the debut of the re-tooled Wahoo squad after the 35 point Tennessee loss (does that count for Bingo?!), and even more impressively, they did it without senior leader Joe Harris who left the game at the 17:37 mark in the first half with a concussion.
Justin Anderson led all scorers with 16, and London Perrantes had 14 of his own after shooting 4-8 from the field, including 3-5 from downtown.
Virginia never trailed and led by 22 in the second half before eventually winning by 12.
Florida State came to John Paul Jones Arena a mere 14 days later, and the intensity jumped up a couple notches. Virginia was coming off the Duke loss and came out firing, taking a double digit lead just over five minutes into the game and eventually cruised to a 21 point lead in the second half.
With 21 seconds left in the game, a 12 point lead, and the shot clock ticking down, Justin Anderson slammed down an alley oop from Malcolm Brogdon. Then the fireworks started.
Despite the game ending fracas (for which the ACC reprimanded White), Virginia won by 12 again and kicked off their 13 game win streak in the conference.
Joe Harris dropped 18 points on the 'Noles in that game behind 4-5 three-point shooting while Uncle Malcolm added another 16.
After today's game with Maryland, White threw a can of gasoline on the remaining fire between the two squads via some post game quotes.
Okaro White on UVa "We've got a lot of guys who grew up in tough situations and they have a lot of guys who didn't."— Justin Ferber (@Justin_Ferber) March 13, 2014
More Okaro White: "If you know that’s how we are, don’t’ try to be a tough guy if you’re not a tough guy.”— Cavs Journal (@CavsJournal) March 13, 2014
While the majority of the comments made post-game by FSU Coach Leonard Hamilton and White were complimentary towards Virginia, the bulletin board has to be getting a lot of action right about now.
Coach Bennett has been successful all season keeping this team on track mentally before big games, but it will be essential for the Hoos to come out hot, because...
Virginia wants to see Saturday- It has been a long, long, long time since Virginia made it to the quarterfinals in the ACC Tournament. Sheryl Crow, Hootie and the Blowfish, and TLC ruled the charts. 'Outbreak' starring Dustin Hoffman was out in theaters. Joe Harris was a toddler (most likely adorable).
Tony Bennett will be hoping to get his squad back to a Saturday matchup for the first time since 1995, and grabbing the three-game sweep of the Seminoles would just be icing on the cake.
The Hoos are looking to erase the memory of losing in OT to Maryland last weekend, and there is still a chance to improve upon their NCAA Tournament seeding and secure that desirable Raleigh pod for next weekend.
For a lot of the players on Virginia's squad, this game could be a stepping stone to achieving childhood dreams. (It is a great article, but check it out for AG's quotes if nothing else...)
It is hard to say. I know there are some (Brian Schwartz) who do not like the "it's hard to beat a team three times" comment, but there is some weight to it. It is not necessarily harder to beat a team the third time you play vice the first or second, but statistically, the more times you play someone the more chance there is that the outcome is different (at least that is what I tell myself when it comes to UVA-VT football...one of these years we are bound to win just out of sheer numbers, right?).
Virginia leads both the conference (54.5) and nation (55.4) in scoring defense, and holds a slight edge in conference (67.4) over FSU (67.3) on scoring offense.
I think Virginia comes away with a win, 64-55.
LET'S GO HOOS!