Atlanta, GA – The third-seeded Florida State Seminoles have a state rivals a backbreaking loss when they take on the seeded Miami-Florida Hurricanes in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at Philips Arena.
Miami and FSU split their regular season-series in 2011-2012, as both program found success at home. The Hurricanes' decisive 78-62 victory in the second bout, which took place on Feb. 26, ended up costing the Seminoles a share of second place in the league standings. After making only 5-of-22 from beyond the arc in the initial meeting, Miami hit 9-of-20 from three-point range on Feb. 26 to end its six-game losing streak versus FSU.
The Hurricanes are going to be playing with a sense of urgency as their name keeps being mentioned in the Bubble Watch. Miami will need to start out better tonight than it did in its first round matchup with Georgia Tech on Thursday. The Hurricanes went into halftime trailing 20-19 after they submitted atrocious shooting performance in which they made only 24 percent of their field goals in the opening period. Miami rebounded and went on an 18-0 run to take full control after the break. Despite their offensive woes, coach Jim Larranaga's team brought defensive intensity to its first round bout which resulted in Georgia Tech finished with a season-low 36 points, on their home floor nonetheless.
Leonard Hamilton was recognized as the 2012 ACC Coach of the Year on Tuesday, and the merit was well-deserved. Florida State came up just short of its quest of first place in the league standings as its 12-4 ACC record was the third best. The 17th ranked Seminoles have been adept on both ends of the floor and very clutch in games that go down to the wire. FSU's biggest flaw is its tendency to play to the level of its competition. Hamilton's team went 7-2 versus the other five teams in the top six in the ACC. However, the Seminoles lost games they should not have to Boston College, Clemson, and in its non- conference schedule, Princeton. In ACC play, FSU is ranked fifth with an average of 68.2 ppg and held its opposition to a third-best 63.4 ppg.
Miami's 16-point win over FSU in late February is especially encouraging as it was without its starting center Reggie Johnson, who leads the squad in rebounding with 7.0 boards per game. Johnson and forward Kenny Kadji combined to make only 4-of-20 shots from the field in round one, but their activity on the boards helped the Hurricanes earn an edge in the rebounding battle. Shane Larkin was the leading scorer of the low-scoring affair with 12 points and the team's leading scorer for the season Durand Scott had a second-best 11-point finish.
The Seminoles' will look to Michael Snaer to lead the charge towards the conference tourney title. Snaer was named to the All-ACC Second Team after he led the team in scoring with 14.1 ppg and knocked down a pair of game-winning shots from distance to push FSU past Duke and Virginia Tech. Ian Miller has emerged as a big playmaker down the stretch. Miller scored in double-figures in seven of the team's last eight games, including a sensational team-high 18- point outing in FSU's thrilling 63-60 victory over Virginia on March 1. With the game tied in the closing seconds, Snaer was not let out of sight, which resulted with Miller taking, and making the last second shot.