This will be the second battle between the Seminoles and Cavaliers this season. Florida State grinded out a 58-55 victory in the defensive battle between the programs on Feb. 4. The first bout was not the prettiest, as the teams combined for 39 turnovers.
Florida State is on its first conference losing streak since 2010 after it submitted an uninspiring effort in a 78-62 loss to Miami-Florida on Sunday. Head coach Leonard Hamilton's team had been in contention for the ACC title before the two-game slide, but it can lock up third place if it can regroup tonight. FSU's losing streak is not surprising as it made just 9-of-38 from beyond the arc and only 21-of-38 from the foul line in its last two games. The Seminoles are outscoring their opponents by an average of 7.7 ppg this season.
The Seminoles are led by Michael Snaer. The junior shooting guard leads the team with 13.9 ppg after he scored a team-high 20 points in the loss to Miami on Sunday. Most coaches would love to have a guy like Snaer on their team in the final minutes of games as he has been clutch this season, draining game- winning three- pointers to help FSU defeat Duke and Virginia Tech. Bernard James, Okara White, and Bernard Gibson all play vital roles for FSU as well. James is grabbing 8.3 boards per game. James and White will need to step it up for get the Seminoles back on track. The forwards combined for just 12 points against Miami, which was missing its starting center. A greater effort will be necessary against UVA's sturdy front line.
Despite being in the national rankings, Virginia still has work to do to solidify its spot in the Big Dance. The Cavaliers fell just short on Saturday as they suffered a 54-51 setback against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Coach Tony Bennett saw his team submit yet another amazing defensive performance as it held UNC's potent scoring offense to a season-low 54 points. The Cavaliers fell short after they were bested 48-29 in the rebounding battle. Virginia's stifling defense is second in the nation in scoring defense with an allowed average of just 52.2 ppg.
The Cavaliers expect to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007, due in large part to the magnificent play of their senior leader Mike Scott. The Cavs' forward, who will be celebrating his senior night, is leading the ACC in field goal percentage at .573, while producing a career-high 16.9 ppg and team-best 8.1 rpg. Scott recorded a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds in the first battle against FSU, which he could improve on if the Seminoles' forwards continue to slump. Sophomore guard Joe Harris is second on the team with 11.5 ppg and Sammy Zeglinski is chipping in 8.4 ppg.