March 9, 2012
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Senior Writer
ATLANTA, Ga. -- Florida State has seen two very different Miami teams already this season.
When they play the Hurricanes for a third time this season Friday night in the semifinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, the No. 17 Seminoles will be ready for both -- and perhaps a third version of a Miami team that defeated Georgia Tech 54-36 Thursday.
Much like they did in the second meeting between the two late last month when center Reggie Johnson was surprisingly suspended just hours before tipoff, the Hurricanes (19-11) could utilize the same small, guard-heavy lineup that gave the 'Noles (21-9) fits in a 78-62 defeat.
"They [utilized a small lineup] tonight," FSU associate head coach Stan Jones said, moments after the Hurricanes beat the Yellow Jackets. "They even went to a five-guard lineup at one time. They had DeQuan Jones and Trey McKinney Jones at the four and five spots. I think we can see some of that and we've also spent a little time the last couple days in preparations for that -- which we didn't have that when we played down in Coral Gables because we were expecting Reggie Johnson to play.
"We've worked on both of them in the last couple days in our scouting preparation."
FSU, which earned a No. 3 seed and consequent first-round bye for the ACC Tournament at Philips Arena, is hoping that extra preparation and last-minute scouting helps it repeat history and the create some new memories.
The last time the ACC Tournament was held in Atlanta in 2009, Florida State advanced all the way to the championship game before losing to Duke.
To match that outcome and possibly win the first ACC Championship in school history, getting past Miami is the first step.
"We've got to go out we've got to take away their inside effectively and we've got to defend their guards on the perimeter, who are very good at taking people off the dribble," Stan Jones said. "It's a challenge our guards have to take."
Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. but the game could possibly start later depending on the timing of the prior games. No matter what time the game starts, it will air live on ESPN2. The game can also be viewed on ESPN3 through the FSU Seminoles Facebook Page.