ACC Predictions: Rivals clash for second time this season

Photo by Josh Halper.

12 p.m. Feb. 24 – No. 14 Miami vs. No. 22 Florida State 

Miami welcomes rival Florida State to the Watsco Center on Sunday for their six matchup with a ranked opponent this season.

Florida State emerged with a 62-58 home victory in a sloppy game in which both teams shot less than 37 percent from the floor during the teams’ first matchup less than one month ago.

If the Seminoles win, Florida State would hold the tiebreaker over Miami and make the Hurricanes’ path to a double-bye in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament much tougher.

Redshirt junior forward Kiah Gillespie, who buried Miami in the last meeting with 18 second-half points, leads FSU in scoring and rebounding.

Fellow junior Nicki Ekhomu backs up Gillespie’s 16.8 points per game with an average of 15.3 points, while also leading the squad in assists at 3.9 per game.

However, Florida State (21-5, 9-4 ACC) struggles mightily with 3-point shooting. The Seminoles shoot just 28 percent from beyond the arc, the worst mark in the conference.

The Hurricanes (22-6, 10-3 ACC) should force their rival to chuck away from deep and get out in transition from the resulting long rebounds.

Double-double machine Beatrice Mompremier and reigning espnW National Player of the Week Emese Hof have caused matchup problems for their opponents all year long.

The Hurricanes have avoided consecutive losses the entire season and that shouldn’t change in front of the home fans. Look for Hof to have a big day in the final rivalry game of her Miami career.

Prediction: Miami 65 — Florida State 60