This matchup features an in-state rivalry, as Miami will travel north on the Florida Turnpike, in hopes of rebounding from a 20-point loss to Georgia Tech. Florida State and Miami are known as fierce football rivals, and though historically lesser rivals in basketball, no compassion will be shared when they take the court on February 1.
Last season the pair met twice in conference play, splitting the games. Florida State was victorious in the first meeting, winning 63-53 while Miami returned the favor 77-73 in the second. These ACC opponents have had very different seasons thus far. Miami enjoyed early season success with a two point win in the second game of the season over then #8-ranked Florida. With key wins over Florida, Illinois and Duke, the Hurricanes sit 6th in the ACC. Florida State’s season has been quite the contrary. With a record of 10-11, the Seminoles find themselves in 10th place in the ACC.
Miami has thrived through the shooting of guard Sheldon McClellan this season, with the junior averaging a field goal percentage of 51.7%. His partner in the backcourt, Angel Rodriguez, makes a perfect pair as the junior leads the ACC with 2.2 steals per game. The most versatile weapon in Miami’s arsenal is center Tonye Jekiri. Standing at 7’0, Jekiri leads the ACC with an average of 10.3 rebounds per game. In a match-up not favoring the Seminoles on paper, freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes will need to rise to the challenge. The 6’4 guard, averaging 13.8 points and 4.7 assists per game, leads a guard centered team core of Montay Brandon and Devon Bookert. Brandon’s efficient and effective shooting, 54.9% from the field, will be needed for Florida State to entertain the idea of an upset.
Lining up against a tough Miami team, Florida State will need to rely on the team’s ability to take quality and high percentage shots. The Seminoles shoot an average 46.3% from the field, good for an NCAA overall ranking of 58th. This could become a factor if the game is close down the stretch, as Miami’s shooting percentage of 44.7% ranks them 115th in the NCAA.
Tickets to see FSU vs. Miami are available for purchase on the secondary market at an average price of $25. Fans can also enjoy a low get-in price with the lowest available priced ticket at just $10. Room rates for available Tallahassee hotels start at $71, according to Hipmunk, so it’ll be a bit pricier to book a hotel room for the night of the game than it will be for a ticket. Hipmunk does have cheap hotels just outside of Tallahassee for less than $50 if you’re looking to save a bit of cash.
With conference play steadily moving towards its conclusion; this game could have major implications come ACC Playoff Tournament time. With Miami vying for middle to higher of the pack seeding, Florida State would cherish the shot at avoiding top dogs Virginia and Notre Dame. Mark your calendars, as all in-state clashes seem to foster exciting finishes.