Rushed Reactions: Virginia 64, Florida State 51Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on March 14th, 2014
ACC Microsite writers Matt Patton and Brad Jenkins will be reporting live from Greensboro at the 2014 ACC Tournament throughout the week.
Three Key Takeaways from Virginia’s ACC quarterfinal win over Florida State.
- Virginia got back to being Virginia. After allowing Maryland to score 1.14 points per possession in the last game of the regular season, the Cavaliers got back to doing what they do best – stifling opposing offenses. Florida State only managed 51 points in 59 possessions, which is much more in line with how Virginia played in the 17 ACC games prior to its season-ending loss at Maryland. The Cavaliers were particular stingy in the first 10 minutes of the second half, while extending a five-point halftime lead to a fifteen-point spread. For the game, Virginia forced 15 turnovers and limited Florida State to only three three-point baskets and 11 free throw attempts.
- Florida State appears headed to the NIT. The Seminoles are probably on the wrong side of the NCAA bubble. Most experts had them as one of the last four out of the bracket before today’s game, so this loss pretty much seals the deal. One of Florida State’s season-long problems, ball-handling, showed up again in this one, as the Seminoles committed seven turnovers in the game’s first 10 minutes. The early miscues kept Florida State from building an early lead. The Seminoles started the game aggressively and held a 5-0 edge in offensive rebounds early before Virginia methodically took control of the game. Senior Okaro White led the Seminoles with 17 points but only four came after half-time.
- Virginia is a deep and versatile basketball team. Another key to the game was Virginia’s bench led by Anthony Gill, who finished with 16 points and five rebounds in 26 minutes. Gill really came through in the first half, providing inside points and energy that was sorely needed with starting big men Akil Mitchell and Mike Tobey combining for only two first-half points. And with Malcolm Brogdon having his worst scoring game since ACC play began, senior Joe Harris responded with an aggressive offensive game. All this indicates the depth and versatility of this Virginia squad, making it hard on opposing teams to focus on any one or two players.
Star of the Game. Joe Harris, Virginia. The senior came out aggressively on offense and stayed that way throughout the game, scoring 10 points in each half to finish with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
- “I think one of Joe’s strengths, he has a good feel when to let it come and when to be assertive. He senses when something is required of him.” – Virginia coach Tony Bennett, on the assertiveness of Joe Harris .
- “The second half, it was obvious that the quality of their depth took its toll on us. We didn’t quite have the energy to fight those screens for long periods of time.” - Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, on a key to the Virginia win.
- “I feel like today we just really wanted to go out there and prove to everybody that we deserved to be here. We deserved to be the number one seed. We went out there and executed.” – Anthony Gill talking about Virginia’s mindset coming into the tournament.
Sights and Sounds. Even though they were the top seed, Virginia was able to avoid the odd situation that sometimes happens on ACC Tournament quarterfinal Friday. Usually the “neutral” fans cheer hard against the favorite, assuming that if that team is eliminated it helps their team’s chances at claiming the title. That never materialized during this one. Perhaps Florida State didn’t keep the game close enough down the stretch to draw in the extra support, or maybe the other fans are just not used to Virginia in the role of the top-seeded team.
- Virginia moves on to Saturday’s semifinals where they’ll face Pittsburgh (Saturday - 1:00 PM ET).
- Florida State will hear its name called Sunday night. But it probably won’t be for the tournament it hoped to be in. Still, considering preseason expectations, playing in the NIT indicates it has been a good season for the Seminoles.