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The Big Preview: FSU Redux

The Hoos look to continue their conference win streak with a trip to Tallahassee

North Carolina v Virginia Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

A little over a month ago, a struggling Florida State team came to JPJ and very nearly knocked off the Virginia Basketball team. Virginia persevered and came away with a 62-57 win, which actually was not that close. The Wahoos led by 10 with under two minutes remaining, before a furious, yet futile, comeback attempt from the Seminoles.

FSU actually scored 12 points during the final 1:53 of that game, meaning they had just 45 points at that point. Virginia held on by hitting seven of eight free throws during that stretch. The Hoos have been struggling at the line recently (26/41 or 63% over the past two games). Knocking down the freebies will really help moving forward.

In what has been a theme this season, Virginia opened up strong and took an early lead. But then they got sloppy and fell behind. Some of that run was just good play from FSU.

It’s a good look by FSU, with Ryan Dunn essentially screening Reece Beekman. Darin Green has an open look, but it’s several feet behind the three point arc. Tony Bennett will live with FSU getting that shot. Green led the Noles with 17 points on 6/13 FG (3/5 from downtown).

Isaac McKneely has two career games in double-figures and it’s the past two games. That’s a very good sign for the freshman. But even back in early December, McKneely was showing a knack for big shots.

That was Isaac’s only bucket of the game, but it was a huge one. It ended a 7-0 run by the visitors and gave the Hoos some momentum going into halftime. Can we please talk about the drive and dish from Beekman? There’s no screen. There’s no crossover. He just beats his man (Caleb Mills). That’s how you get open looks for your friends.

Virginia took the lead 26 seconds into the second half and never trailed again.

FSU is 5-12, and their best win is an 11 point home win over Georgia Tech. They are also now playing without Cam’ron Fletcher, who was their leading in rebounding when he went down. Matthew Cleveland has picked up the slack with five consecutive double-figure rebounding games. Cleveland is also 6-10 from downtown over the same stretch (28% career).

Last time out, Armaan Franklin was largely tasked with shutting down Cleveland. He had 11 points (5/11 FG) and 10 rebounds. But eight of those points came after Virginia had opened up a 12 point lead. Franklin’s defense is underappreciated, but was a big part of that win. Should be a big part this time out as well.

Here is our preview from last time.