The Daily Nole

Preview: Seminoles Celebrate Senior Day vs. Miami athletics

A double-bye in the ACC Tournament, a perfect home record and a school-record for regular season wins will be on the line on Saturday as No. 15 Florida State hosts No. 25 Miami. The Seminoles are 17-0 this season at the Donald L. Tucker Center and will look to finish undefeated at home for the first time since the 1954-55 season.

FSU defeated Miami 75-57 in the first meeting between the schools on Feb. 1. FSU has not swept the season series from the Hurricanes since the 2010-11 season. FSU is coming off a 75-70 loss at Duke. Miami most recently lost at Virginia Tech, 66-61.

The Match-Up

Who: No. 25 Miami Hurricanes (20-9, 10-7 ACC) at No. 15 Florida State Seminoles (23-7, 11-6 ACC)
When: Saturday, March 4 at 4 p.m. EST (ACC Network)
Where: Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida

Key Players

For Miami: Senior Davon Reed is averaging better than 15 points per game to lead Miami. Ja’Quan Newton isn’t far behind, averaging 14.2 points while shooting 46 percent from the field. Freshman Bruce Brown averages nearly 12 points and six rebounds per game and a team-high 1.5 steals per contest.

For Florida State: Dwayne Bacon, a sophomore guard, leads the Seminoles averaging 16.7 points per game. Jonathan Isaac averages 12.6 points and leads the team in rebounding and blocked shots at 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Xavier Rathan-Mayes averages 10.5 points per game to go with a team-high 4.8 assists.

What to Watch For

Dwayne Bacon: After a short shooting slump, Dwayne Bacon came to life late for Florida State against Duke on Tuesday night. Bacon finished with 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting to lead the team. Bacon scored 15 points against Miami in the first meeting this team in South Florida. Last season, Bacon struggled against Miami.

3-point shooting: In the first meeting between the teams in February, the 3-point arc was an area where FSU enjoyed a big advantage. The Seminoles shot 7-for-18 while the Hurricanes were just 2-for-11 from deep. FSU is a middle of the pack team when it comes to 3-point percentage in the ACC while the Hurricanes are near the bottom. One thing Miami does do well however, is defend the 3-point arc.

Xavier Rathan-Mayes: FSU guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes has been playing very well of late and throughout his career, Rathan-Mayes has been exceptional against the Hurricanes. Earlier this season, Rathan-Mayes finished with 13 points on an efficient 4-for-8 shooting to go along with four assists and two steals. The most memorable moment for Rathan-Mayes against the Hurricanes came in February 2015 when he scored 30 points in a 4:39 span in an 81-77 loss. Rathan-Mayes has not only been playing well on the offensive end of late, but on defense as well and could make things tough for Miami at both ends of the floor.

Home court advantage: Saturday’s contest with Miami is another sellout for Florida State and that could be a huge factor as the Seminoles look to finish perfect at home for the first time in 41 years. On Senior Day, it will also be the last home game in the FSU careers of center Michael Ojo and forward Jarquez Smith. Factoring in that Saturday’s contest will be an emotional day, a top-25 match-up and a rivalry game, it could be quite the atmosphere in Tallahassee.

Number to Pay Attention To

52: That’s the percentage that FSU shot from the floor in the Feb. 1 contest against Miami. As a team, the Hurricanes are holding teams to below 41 percent shooting, but were exploited in the first match-up. Another stellar shooting day from FSU would go a long way in the Seminoles being able to sweep their rivals to the south.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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