Florida State opens the ACC Tournament against Virginia Tech

The Florida State Seminoles take on Virginia Tech to open the ACC Tournament. The Noles will play the Hokies at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 9. The game will be shown nationally on ESPN.

FSU comes into this game as the two-seed in the tournament, they secured a double-bye for the first time in school history. Virginia Tech is the seven seed.

The Seminoles are 24-7 and ranked number 16 in the country. They are averaging 83 points a game on 48.5% shooting from the field and 36.1% shooting from deep. Florida State’s depth could be a factor in keeping them fresh during this tournament, as if they are to reach the ACC Championship game they must play three days in a row. With 10 players averaging double-figures in minutes per game, and two more averaging over 8.6 minutes per game, the Noles should be able to go to a multitude of different lineups over the course of the tournament.

Dwayne Bacon leads the team in scoring at 16.9 points per game, but he has been inconsistent since conference play began. He’s gone cold during the latter half of conference play and has only scored over 20 points in two of his last 16 games. Bacon appears to be forcing a lot of his offense, and he’s taking way too many three point shots. He’s at his best when he’s slashing towards the rim and taking open jump shots.

Jonathan Isaac is averaging 12.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. The freshman forward has been stout defensively, but his offense has fallen into a small drought as well. Isaac has only scored 10 total points over his last two games, hopefully, he can work himself out of the slump quickly. He’ll likely be a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes has really taken control of the team as of late. He’s putting up 10.4 points, three rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. The junior point guard is the clear leader of the team on the floor and he has grasped complete control of the offense. XRM makes the correct passes and has been good with his shot selection. He will play a big role in FSU’s postseason run.

Virginia Tech is averaging 79 points a game on 49.2% shooting from the field and 40.5% from three point range. The Hokies make 8.8 three’s per game and almost all of their players can stretch the floor. FSU is going to need to be playing some of their best perimeter defense of the season to try to limit their percentages.

The Hokies rotation is slightly shorter than FSU’s. They have eight players averaging double-figures in minutes per game and six of those players are averaging over 28 minutes per game. They are led by seniors Zach LeDay and Seth Allen, who both come off the bench. LeDay is averaging 15.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and one block per game. Allen is recording 13.1 points and 3.3 assists per game. In total, five players average double-figures in scoring for Virginia Tech, they are balanced offensively.

Projected Starters:

– Florida State

PG: Xavier Rathan-Mayes

G: Dwayne Bacon

G: Terance Mann

F: Jonathan Isaac

C: Michael Ojo


– Virginia Tech

G: Justin Robinson

G: Justin Bibbs

G: Ahmed Hill

G: Khadim Sy

F: Ty Outlaw


Keys to the game:

The Seminoles are going to need to play great perimeter defense. Virginia Tech is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the ACC. The Hokies hit 10 threes against Wake Forest in the 2nd round of the ACC Tournament, so they come into this game hot.

Both teams average close to 12 turnovers per game, it’ll be crucial for Florida State to win that battle. The Noles are at their best offensively when they are running, and they’ll be able to create easy fastbreak opportunities off turnovers.

Florida State also needs their stars to come up big. Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac have both had some rough stretches of basketball as of late and they need to get back on track. Bacon’s shot selection has been extremely poor and he’s forcing most of his offense. He needs to get back under control to play within the rhythm of the offense.

As for Isaac, he just needs to be more aggressive. His three-point shooting has fallen off, but he’s still shooting 52% from the field. Isaac is making 4.1 of his 7.9 shots per game, he just needs to take more. XRM needs to continue playing his game of solid defense and smart plays on offense. His assist to turnover ratio is the fifth best in the ACC at 2.66. When XRM plays big, this team is tough to beat.

Dustin Lewis
Lead writer for NoleGameday. Majoring in Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State University. Staff Writer for the FSView and contributor for Celtics Hub.

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