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What UVA Basketball fans need to know about Florida State

fsuFlorida State got the win in the first one between the two, but Virginia outplayed the fifth-ranked ‘Noles.

The Cavaliers controlled the paint (with a huge 30-14 advantage in points in the paint), held serve against the bigger Seminoles on the boards (FSU finished with a slight 31-29 edge).

The difference was that UVA didn’t get rewarded for attacking the rim. Both teams had eight free-throw attempts, which is fine, except that the ‘Hoos had eight more shots at the rim (21-13), and 41 of Florida State’s 54 shots were jumpers.

Basically, you can see the team hoisting jumper after jumper not getting to the line.

The team attacking the paint and getting to the rim needs to get more charity tosses than that.

Is what it is.

This was one of those that had Virginia leading late – FSU trailed by three until an Anthony Polite three tied the game with 2:27 to go, as the ‘Noles closed out on a 10-3 run.

Inside Florida State

FSU hasn’t exactly been tearing things up of late. That escape at home against UVA was the first of three straight narrow wins, including a Houdini-like 83-79 win at Miami on Jan. 18, and a way-too-close-for-comfort 85-84 win over Notre Dame on Saturday.

Eleven guys average nine minutes or more for coach Leonard Hamilton. The leading scorer is 6’7” sophomore guard Devin Vassell (13.1 ppg, 5.2 rebs/g, 49.5% FG, 39.1% 3FG).

Vassell is good at getting into the lane (27.0 percent of his shot attempts are at the rim, according to and finishing (he converts on 70.8 percent of those opportunities).

Trent Forrest (11.8 ppg, 44.9% FG, 31.3% 3FG) and M.J. Walker (11.4 ppg, 37.6% FG, 36.8% 3FG) are make up the rest of the starting backcourt.

Those three average a collective 85.0 minutes per game in the backcourt.

The first guard off the bench is Polite (7.0 ppg, 21.4 minutes/g, 42.2% FG, 39.1% 3FG).

As we wrote about FSU ahead of the first matchup earlier in the month, it’s a big team – according to, the average height on the floor is 79.0”, basically, 6’7”, ranking first nationally.

And the odd thing is, it’s all guys between 6’4” and 6’9”. The two guys who split the minutes at the five are 6’9” Malik Osborne (5.9 ppg. 4.9 rebs/g, 46.8% FG, 37.1% 3FG) and 6’8” sophomore RaiQuan Gray (6.1 ppg, 3.6 rebs/g, 39.6% FG, 19.2% 3FG).

Of late, a pair of seven-footers, 7’1” freshman Balsa Koprivica (6.0 ppg, 2.8 rebs/g, 74.5% FG) and 7’0” senior Dominik Olejniczak (3.4 ppg, 2.2 rebs/g, 59.1% FG) have been getting some minutes.

Both got double-digit minutes in the win over Notre Dame on Saturday, for instance.

Keys for Virginia

Cleaner play from sophomore point guard Kihei Clark (10.0 ppg, 5.9 assists/g, 35.1% FG, 33.8% 3FG), who had a ghastly nine turnovers in the loss in Tallahassee a couple of weeks back.

And how about more of what we’ve been seeing lately from Tomas Woldentensae? Woldentensae (5.4 ppg, 33.0% FG, 35.5% 3FG) dropped 21, on 7-of-14 shooting from three, in Virginia’s 65-63 OT win at Wake Forest on Sunday.

Woldetensae has been heating up of late from three: shooting 43.6 percent (24-of-55) over his last 11 games.

It would also help if 6’9” senior Mamadi Diakite (13.2 ppg, 6.8 rebs/g, 47.4% FG, 36.1% 3FG) could have another solid outing like the one he had down at FSU (16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, six rebounds).

Story by Chris Graham

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