FSU Basketball has won seven of their last 10 games to turn their season around. After a disappointing out-of-conference performance, with a strong, but not overly arduous schedule, the Seminoles have found themselves jockeying for position near the top of the ACC.
They currently sit fifth in the conference with an overall record of 13-9, including seven wins and four losses from ACC opponents. Come 8 p.m. Saturday, Florida State has a chance to continue their improved play and rise in the ACC.
The top of the ACC barely has breathing room. At one point, it seemed North Carolina separated themselves at the top, but a loss to Clemson brought them back within striking distance. The closest team is Virginia, who sit one game back of UNC.
Next is Duke, who stands with a similar conference record but is a game and a half back because UVA has played and won one more game than the Blue Devils. Next, sitting neck and neck, are Wake Forest and Florida State.
Standings in the ACC are now coming into relevance as the Seminoles sit outside of the bracket projections for March Madness. This means ACC performance is crucial for Florida State so they can go to the big dance in March.
The top four teams in the conference get seeded in the top four of the ACC tournament and get two rounds off. Automatic qualifiers are regular-season conference champions and conference tournament champions.
Thus far, Joe Lunardi, ESPN's premier College Basketball analyst and main projector of teams for the NCAA Tournament, has four ACC teams. North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, and Clemson.
All this information means tomorrow night's matchup is pivotal. FSU will need their double-digit scorers, Jahmir Watkins (2), Darin Green (22), and Primo Sprear (23) to perform.
They will also need their leaders like Jalen Warley (1) and Jaylan Gainey (33) to contribute on both ends of the floor while young talented pieces like Cam Corhen (3), Baba Miller (11), and Taylor Bol Bowen (10) continue to ascend.
Virginia is talented. Florida State will keep a keen eye on Reece Beekman (2), who leads the team in points, assists, and steals. A close second to Beekman is Isaac McKneely (11), who averages double-digit points per game and 40 percent shooting from the field and 46 percent from three.
Another name to know is Ryan Dunn (13), who leads the Cavaliers in rebounds and blocks.