Florida State Seminoles vs. (3) Virginia Cavaliers
After losing their last game of the regular season, the No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers (28-2, 16-2 ACC) will have something to prove in the ACC tournament. They open the bracket with a quarterfinal meeting against the Florida State Seminoles (17-15, 8-10 ACC) today at Greensboro Coliseum (noon Eastern).
The Cavaliers’ had their nine-game win streak snapped by the Louisville Cardinals last time out, with the most unlikely of Cardinals, Mangok Mathiang, hitting a buzzer-beater for the win (and his first points of the game).
“I don’t want to say I expected him to not make, but I was OK with the way we defended that possession,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said.
Virginia ended the season with a 28-2 record straight up, 15-12-1 against the spread, including a 51-41 victory over the Seminoles on February 22.
Florida State, meanwhile, went 16-15 straight up, 16-12 ATS overall, and 9-7 ATS as underdogs.
The Noles had their share of struggles throughout the season, dropping three in a row at one point and losing home games to Clemson and NC State; but they beat Pitt to close the regular season (61-52) and then got a measure of revenge against the Tigers in the first round of the ACC tournament yesterday (76-73).
They also boast a dynamic freshman point guard in Xavier Rathan-Mayes (14.4 PPG, 4.4 APG) who is capable of taking over a game at any time. Case-in-point: Rathan Mayes dropped 30 points on 11/19 shooting yesterday, almost single-handedly keeping the FSU season alive.
Trends: the Seminoles have lost five of the last six games against Virginia and covered the spread in just two of those. Five of the last six meetings in the series have stayed under the game total.
(Photo credit: brandonink2001 (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)