After Virginia was forced out, the ACC Tournament had only one game Friday but fortunately it wasn’t too bad as Florida State nipped UNC 69-66.
It was a good game but one heavy on mistakes on both sides and not just turnovers. Both teams lacked efficiency and made multiple poor decisions on offense and defense.
But that’s not to say that it was all bad.
We saw a bit of swagger from Scottie Barnes who picked apart UNC’s defense several times in the second half. We saw FSU sophomore Balsa Koprivica more than hold his own against UNC’s vaunted quartet of big men. He had 17 points and 11 boards on 7-11 from the floor.
Armando Bacot had 12 points and 6 boards, Garrison Brooks had 5 and 8, while Walker Kessler had 2 and 2 and Day’Ron Sharpe had 5 and 6.
We also saw UNC’s Kerwin Walton almost pull off a great ACC performance, nearly shooting UNC to the Finals.
Mostly though it was a defensive struggle and in that kind of game, Florida State was at an advantage, although not much of one.
After watching UNC’s big guys bully most of the conference lately it was pretty impressive to see them struggle inside against Florida State. They combined to shoot 8-17.
In fairness to Brooks, he sat out Thursday night and may not have been 100 percent but no matter how you look at it, ultimately Florida State out-toughed the Tar Heels.
Saturday they’ll get Georgia Tech and while certainly neither team cheated, both teams got short cuts to the Finals.
Georgia Tech got to miss the exhausting pleasure of Virginia’s defense and gets a day of rest while Florida State got to miss Duke and has only played one game.
But that’s nobody’s fault. It’s just the way it worked out.
It’s hard to pick against Florida State here but Georgia Tech has a lot of experience and plays excellent defense.
The teams split during the regular season with the ‘Noles winning at home 74-61 and Tech winning in Atlanta 76-65.
The one thing that really gives us pause about picking FSU is that Georgia Tech has a great rarity in Jose Alvarado: a senior point guard with an instinct for winning.
If it’s close we’d have to feel good about Tech’s chances if only because of Alvarado.