Florida State pulled away from Miami in the second half, and now the Hurricanes will rest uncomfortably on the bubble for the next two days.
Five Seminoles finished the game in double figures—including Ian Miller, Luke Loucks and and Okaro White off the bench— as the No. 3 seed turned up the pressure and flustered Miami in the second half for a 82-71.
Article continues below ...
Here’s the question: With Miami headed back to Coral Gables, can the Seminoles beat second-seeded Duke for the second times this season?
Finish them: Florida State is the best defensive team in the ACC. That might not entirely be backed up by statistics, but this team’s athleticism at every position offers the unique ability to employ high-pressure, man-to-man throughout games. It wore on Miami on Friday night, but it did not completely destroy its will.
The Hurricanes were able to stay in contention with the Seminoles’ smothering defense by grabbing 14 offensive rebounds. That’s not a abnormally huge number, but Florida State might want to keep a better-rebounding Duke team off the glass a little more in its semifinal matchup.
Worth the price of admission: Ian Miller is a player. He has a smoothness to his game that brings a calmness to an often frantic Florida State offense, and he could be one of those players to keep an eye on in March if the Seminoles find themselves in close games. He’s the best scoring threat off any bench in the ACC, and it showed against Miami.
Miller’s final line: 18 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Well done.
Next season, Miller will likely step into the starting role and be asked to do a lot more for this Florida State team. For now, it will be interesting to see how he plays a bigger and bigger role for this team all month long.
Is Miami in?: That’s up for the selection committee to toil, re-toil and yell at each other over. This Miami is 19-11 this season, including 10 wins in the ACC after Thursday’s win over Georgia Tech, but the quality wins are scarce. The Hurricanes beat Duke and Florida State—and that’s pretty much it. But, like Fox Sports writer Andrew Jones just mentioned, that win at Duke is probably the best win on any bubble team résumé.
And this is just that: a team on the bubble.
This is a bubble team according to its RPI (50th). This is a bubble team according to its strength of schedule (48th). This is even a bubble team when basing judgments on the who-knows-how-important-this-is eye test.
Glad the decision does not fall on my shoulders.
Will Duke’s dominance end?: It was predicted here. It was predicted in many places. This Florida State team matches up very well with the Blue Devils, a group that looked unimpressive in its win over Virginia Tech, and they might even be favored to win.
Now, no matter who takes the court for Mike Krzyzewski, this Duke team is always a tough out in this event. It has won the past three tourney titles for a reason.
But yes, this Seminoles team has enough to send Duke home early.