Surging ‘Noles look for 8th straight ACC win
It’s been five seasons since Florida State won eight in a row. It’s been even longer since Boston College dropped seven straight.
These teams are on opposite ends of the ACC standings and headed in different directions when they meet Wednesday night in Boston.
The surging Seminoles have climbed to No. 15 in the AP poll, their highest position since being ranked 13th in January 1998.
Florida State (16-6, 7-1) is tied for the conference lead with No. 5 North Carolina, which hosts No. 10 Duke on Wednesday. Victories by the Blue Devils and the Seminoles would put Florida State in sole possession of first.
“We’re halfway through the ACC regular-season race and we want to take advantage of this opportunity,” coach Leonard Hamilton said.
This is the first time the Seminoles have won seven straight in ACC play and the first time at any point of a season since 2009-10. They haven’t had an eight-game streak since Dec. 3-29, 2006.
Boston College (7-16, 2-7), meanwhile, is tied for last place with Wake Forest and Georgia Tech and has dropped six straight for its worst losing streak since 2007-08. The Eagles haven’t had a longer one since a 12-game skid Jan. 12-Feb. 15, 2000, but the Seminoles refuse to take them lightly.
“We gotta bring that same focus to every single game,” Florida State top scorer Michael Snaer said. “We gotta prepare for the last team in our conference the same way we prepare for the top team in our conference.”
The Seminoles should be heavily favored against an Eagles team that has nine freshmen. Florida State leads the ACC in field-goal percentage defense at 37.4 while Boston College is the conference’s worst shooting team at 40.8 percent.
“You’re not going to get easy looks, but they also speed you up and not let you feel comfortable on the perimeter,” Eagles coach Steve Donahue said. “It’s just a real good game plan that coach Hamilton has done for years. It’s as good as advertised.”
Donahue starts four freshmen alongside Oregon transfer Matt Humphrey, a newcomer averaging a team-best 10.1 points. The second-year coach is trying to stay positive.
“We’re probably outmanned in most games going in, and we’ve got to figure out a way to stay competitive,” Donahue said. “I think the guys have done a really good job of doing that.”
After losing four straight by double digits, the Eagles were more competitive in a 56-51 home loss last Wednesday to North Carolina State and Saturday’s 51-47 defeat to the Yellow Jackets.
“They have played good basketball and they’ve grown up and they’re talented and they’re well coached,” Hamilton said. “And we know once again that we have to be at our best in order to be successful.”
Snaer had five straight double-figure scoring efforts before being held to eight points in Saturday’s 58-55 home win over then-No. 16 Virginia. He’s averaging 13.7 points on 55.6 percent shooting in going 3-0 in his career against the Eagles.
“We know that Boston College is not a team you can take lightly,” Snaer said. “We know from experience. We’ve played them tough here, we’ve played them tough at their house.”
These are the ACC’s worst teams in turnovers per game, with Florida State last at 17.0 and BC at 15.2. That still may favor the Seminoles since they force an ACC-best 16.8 per game while the Eagles are 10th at 11.9.