Continuing its unbeaten start in the ACC, No. 12 Florida State used its deep and athletic rotation to get past No. 21 Virginia Tech with a 93-78 ACC home win on Saturday.
The Seminoles (15-1, 3-0) continued to show that they are a major threat in the ACC and beyond with this win.
Here are three takeaways from this one.
Florida State has a chance to be really scary
With 11 consecutive victories, Florida State has it rolling on the hardwood. And this team has an even higher ceiling thanks to some young pieces who are still figuring things out.
We know that Leonard Hamilton teams are going to defend. The thing that makes this Seminoles team unique is that this group defends and has plenty of talented offensive weapons. We’ve seen what players like Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes can do scoring the ball in so many ways while Terance Mann is also a point producer who led with 22 in the win on Saturday.
Freshman Jonathan Isaac fits in so well with the wing scorers because he’s comfortable not taking many shots while defending multiple spots and rebounding at a high level. Overall, this starting five is a ton of fun to watch as they have high-upside scorers with players like Isaac who are complimenting the defense well.
Of the KenPom top 50 defenses, Florida State is one of three teams that is also top 50 in tempo (Kentucky and North Carolina being the other two). That shows that the Seminoles can defend, get up and down and play with anybody in the country and their depth and athleticism is going to wear a lot of teams down.
Don’t sleep on Florida State’s talented bench
One of the impressive parts of Florida State’s win over Virginia Tech was the play of its bench. When we talk about the Seminoles it can be easy to get wrapped up in the hype of the big-name scorers and All-Americans but there are also a lot of quality role players on this team.
When the Seminole starters took a break on Saturday, the bench never let up. Jarquez Smith had 12 points while sophomore PJ Savoy added 11 points. Freshman point guard CJ Walker added seven points. Walker is a hard-nosed lead guard who is a quality second-unit presence while the defense remains intense. Smith is plenty experienced and center Christ Koumadje brings size (7-foot-4!!!) off the bench that not many teams know how to handle.
Virginia Tech still has work to do on the road
We can’t forget about the way Virginia Tech dismantled Duke at home last weekend, but that win does seem like its in the distant past after the Hokies suffered road losses at N.C. State and Florida State this week. Such is life in the brutal gauntlet known as the ACC.
Buzz Williams has done a tremendous job of making Blacksburg a tough place to play but Virginia Tech still has work to do on the road to be considered among the class of the league. The Hokies do deserve credit for a nice true road win at Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge but they have not looked good on the road in two ACC games so far.
Virginia Tech’s next three games come at home, but after that, back-to-back road games at Clemson and North Carolina could really show us if this team is in the conference hunt.