Teams: Syracuse Orange (12-9, 4-4) vs. Florida State Seminoles (18-3, 6-2)
Day & Time: Saturday, January 28, noon ET
Venue: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Line: N/A just yet
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Florida State Blog: Tomahawk Nation, of course
Rivalry: 6-2, Syracuse
Current Streak: 1, Florida State
First Meeting: Syracuse oddly paid a visit to Tallahassee in the middle of conference play back in 1990. The Orangemen won 90-69. Billy Owens had 23 points, while Derrick Coleman snagged 12 boards. It was never very close, and still makes no sense why they’d schedule that game, to this day (hi, this weekend’s random Virginia/Villanova game!).
Last Meeting: We thought Syracuse may have been done for last year after falling 78-73 to Florida State in the final game of the regular season. It was an excruciating contest to watch, despite Michael Gbinije’s 21 points. Thankfully, it was not a harbinger of what was to come in the NCAA Tournament (though it was a harbinger of what was to come vs. Pitt the next game).
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (41st Year, 997-351); Florida State: Leonard Hamilton (15th Year, 296-190)
Head Coach Bio: Hamilton played at UT-Martin for a couple years before going the assistant coaching route at Austin Peay. He turned that into a gig with Kentucky, where he stayed until getting his first shot at head coaching at Oklahoma State.
Those Cowboys teams were reasonably successful enough that the then-moribund Miami Hurricanes thought he could fix their basketball program. Though it took some time, he’d eventually earn the ‘Canes four straight NCAA Tournament trips at the end of his tenure. His final Miami team went 23-11, won the Big East regular season title and got to the Sweet 16.
He impressed the Wizards so much that they hired him there, but after a short time in the NBA, he was back to the college ranks, this time at FSU. Since taking over the ‘Noles, they’ve had just two losing seasons, and even won the ACC in 2012. So far, this Florida State team is on track to be his best to-date.
Last Year: A young Florida State squad sputtered along to a 20-14 record and an NIT trip. They lost in the second round there, but overall, it was a successful season that served as a building block for this one.
Last Game: FSU was stunned by Georgia Tech on Wednesday night, losing 78-56 to the unranked Yellow Jackets. The Seminoles shot just 28 percent from the floor, got killed on the boards and were simply ran off the floor by a defensively-minded Tech team.
"Fear Me, I've Killed Hundreds of Timelords": Sophomore guard Dwayne Bacon and freshman forward Jonathan Isaac are easy and reasonable calls. Bacon’s scoring 17 points per game, is the team’s leader and a dynamic offensive talent. Isaac, who stands at 6-foot-10, averages 12.9 points and 7.8 boards per game, and also manages to hit 82 percent of his free throws.
But no, I’m going (once again) with the random rotation guy who can hit threes at a reasonable clip. Over the past five games, PJ Savoy’s hit nine from deep, and he’s shooting 42 percent from outside on the year. If FSU plays him more than his 10-minute average, he could make the zone pay, as many others have already this year.
If Syracuse Wins: WE’RE GOING BACK TO THE TOURNAMENT SHUT UP YOU CAN’T RAIN ON MY GODDAMN PARADE!
If Syracuse Loses: Expected, though it still doesn’t help us much in terms of the current long-shot postseason odds.
Fun Fact No. 1: Syracuse has never lost a regular season* home game to Florida State, going 3-0 in the previous meetings at the Carrier Dome and winning all in resounding fashion. However, they have lost at the Dome, in the 1997 NIT. Todd Burgan was hampered, leading to an 82-67 win for FSU.
Fun Fact No. 2: Hamilton has faced Syracuse at least once at all three of his NCAA head coaching stops. He’s a combined 5-15 in 20 games against the Orange, but only one of those wins was at the Carrier Dome (his final visit with Miami). Hamilton is 1-9 all-time against SU at the Dome.