Third-ranked Miami visits defending ACC champions
Red-hot Hurricanes aim for 11th straight ACC win in game against intrastate rival Seminoles
Third-ranked Miami visits defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Florida State in a showdown between one of the nation's hottest teams and one of the ACC's most inconsistent.
The Hurricanes (19-3, 10-0 ACC) have already embarrassed the Seminoles once this season and Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton says his team will have to play better Wednesday night — much better — than it has been recently to avoid another whipping. Miami has won 11 straight games since its last loss (which came on Christmas Day) and many of those games weren't close.
"They do a lot of things right," Hamilton said. "Offensively they have that balance, perimeter shooting as well as the big, strong guys inside."
Florida State (13-10, 5-5) has struggled all season in and around the basket, often being outrebounded by significant margins.
The Hurricanes hammered the Seminoles 71-47 last month in Coral Gables where they've also clubbed perennial ACC powers Duke by 27 and North Carolina by 26. Miami has won its 10 ACC games by an average margin of nearly 14 points.
The Tar Heels started 11-0 in the ACC in 2000-01 and finished 13-3 in league play, according to the ACC. The Blue Devils were 16-0 in conference play in 1998-99, the only 16-0 season in league history
"They're getting everyone's best shot," Hamilton said of the Hurricanes. "If they don't, they'll give people a little bit of the medicine they'll get when they go down to Coral Gables."
Florida State has lost four times this season by 20 or more points and twice by 25 points. The Seminoles (13-10, 5-5) have won three of their games on last-second baskets by senior guard Michael Snaer.
Miami coach Jim Larranaga said you can throw all of the statistics and earlier results out the window when the two intrastate rivals meet.
"It's rivalry week. Florida State's our biggest rival," the veteran coach said during his weekly ACC media call. "All the previous games we've played, they played, are meaningless when it comes to the Miami-Florida State game."
And Larranaga's players claim they're not looking past the young and inconsistent Seminoles.
"They're going to have a chip on their shoulder because we beat them pretty solidly at home," sophomore point guard Shane Larkin said. "They probably want to do the same thing to us up there."
Larkin is one of three Hurricanes averaging more than 13 points a game while Michael Snaer and Okaro White are the lone Seminoles who average double figures.
Hamilton, who has been frustrated by his club's failure to somehow blend together in the first three fourths of the season, can only hope to keep it close enough for the possibility of yet another Snaer buzzer beater. The senior Seminole has hit three buzzer-beaters to life Florida State to comeback wins this year in addition to a pair of game winners last year.
And while Miami has been perfect on its court this season, the home floor has had no special advantage for the Seminoles. Minnesota, Florida and Duke all took the Seminoles apart on their home floor. Duke led 38-12 in the first half on its way to an easy 79-60 win.
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