Sunshine State showdown pits 'Canes against 'Noles

Tallahassee, FL ( - As one of six teams from the ACC nationally ranked entering the weekend, the 23rd-ranked Miami Hurricanes try to remain relevant as they take on the Florida State Seminoles on Sunday afternoon.

Despite being regarded as one of the top teams in the nation, Miami can barely get an ounce of respect in the ACC where it is seventh in the league standings with a record of 4-3. Chance are the team will be dropped from the Top-25 when the new poll comes out though, having lost in a big way to Georgia Tech earlier this week by a score of 70-50. The defeat snapped a two-game win streak in conference play.

As for the Seminoles, who are playing on Super Bowl Sunday for the ninth time since 1993, they too were in action on Wednesday night but still might be a tired bunch given that they had to go to double-overtime in order to defeat Wake Forest at home, 82-76. The victory was the second in the last three outings for an FSU group that is 11th in the ACC standings with a mark of 3-5.

As far as the all-time series is concerned, FSU maintains a 41-32 advantage over the Hurricanes, the 'Noles winning 27 of the 34 games played in Tallahassee. However, Miami won the most recent encounter a season ago at the Tucker Center by a score of 77-73.

The teams are slated to meet a little more than three weeks from now on Miami's home court to complete the season series.

Miami fell behind the Yellow Jackets right out of the chute and never recovered, hitting just 34.5 percent from the floor, including 6-of-26 behind the 3-point line, en route to the lopsided home loss. Tonye Jekiri was the lone double-digit scorer for the hosts with his 13 points, to go along with nine rebounds, as only one other player was able to make more than just a pair of field goals for a unit that allowed Georgia Tech to make good on an impressive 56.8 percent from the field while being outscored at the free-throw line, 18-6.

Jekiri, one of three players to have started all seven ACC outings for Miami, is averaging 10.1 ppg thanks to his 58.3 percent shooting from the floor. As someone who is pulling down a team-best 12.0 rpg, Jekiri has created many of his own scoring opportunities thanks to 22 offensive rebounds, a number that would place him second in rebounding alone. Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan are also expected to lend a hand on offense given that they are averaging 13.7 and 12.4 ppg, respectively.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes was credited with 21 points for the Seminoles in the most recent outing, with four of those coming late in the second overtime in order to push FSU to the much-needed home win. Phil Cofer accounted for 19 points and eight rebounds and Devon Bookert tacked on 15 points as he nailed three of his four attempts from 3-point range for a squad that was 5-of-13 out on the perimeter and 23-of-30 at the free-throw line, not to mention 46.6 percent accurate from the floor overall.

Rathan-Mayes leads the way in scoring during conference play with 18.0 ppg, although his mere 29.7 percent effort beyond the arc doesn't exactly scream confidence. Bookert pitches in with another 12.3 ppg and in his case he is actually shooting better behind the 3-point line (.400) than he is from the field overall (.370) in those seven conference outings. But beyond Rathan- Mayes and Bookert, who have combined to knock down 29 triples, the rest of the team is not much help from distance with just eight conversions on 29 attempts.