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Preview: FSU Hosts Louisville in Top-25 Showdown

FSU-Louisville preview

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Florida State will look to stay red hot on Saturday as Louisville comes to the Donald L. Tucker Center for a top-25 match-up. The Seminoles have won four straight games with the most recent being an impressive 80-62 road win at Syracuse.

The Cardinals will be facing a third straight ranked opponent after losing at home to North Carolina and winning at Virginia Tech. Louisville took two of three against FSU last season with both teams winning on the road during the regular season before the Cardinals held off the Seminoles to open the ACC Tournament. Louisville rallied from 17 points down last year in Tallahassee to end FSU’s 28-game home winning streak, 73-69.

The Match-Up

Who: No. 16 Louisville Cardinals (17-6, 8-2 ACC) at No. 22 Florida State Seminoles (17-5, 5-4 ACC)
When: Saturday, Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. EST (ESPN2)
Where: Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida

Key Players

For Louisville
Jordan Nwora, F (So.):
 17.8 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 40% 3PT
Dwayne Sutton, F (Jr.): 10.9 PPG, 7 RPG, 40% 3PT
Christen Cunningham, G (Sr.): 10.2 PPG, 4.6 APG, 49% FG

Mfiondu Kabengele, F (So.):
 13.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 52% FG
Terance Mann, G (Sr.): 11.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 53% FG
Trent Forrest, G (Jr.): 9.1 PPG, 4 APG, 2.1 SPG

What to Watch For

3-point shooting: With the exception of an ugly win last weekend against Georgia Tech, one major improvement during FSU’s 4-game winning streak has been 3-point shooting. The Seminoles were again lights out during Tuesday night’s win at Syracuse, going 11-for-22 from deep. During the winning streak, FSU has shot better than 46 percent and currently ranks sixth in the ACC in 3-point percentage. The Cardinals are currently fifth in that category at a clip of better than 36 percent for the season. Ryan McMahon was 4-for-5 from distance in Monday’s 72-64 win at Virginia Tech and 4-for-7 in three games against the Seminoles last season. Leading scorer Jordan Nwora ranks fourth in the ACC with 56 made 3s. P.J. Savoy leads FSU with 34 3-point makes. Surprisingly, senior Terance Mann leads the team by shooting at a 44 percent clip from beyond the 3-point arc.

Terance Mann: After a sluggish start to ACC play, Terance Mann seems to have found his groove for the Seminoles. Over the last three games, Mann is shooting 68 percent from the field and 4-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc while grabbing better than eight rebounds per contest. Mann is averaging 14.7 points per game over that span and is coming off a season-high tying 22-point performance against the Orange. In three games against Louisville last season, Mann averaged 14.7 points and shot 58 percent. Mann finished with 25 points and eight rebounds in last season’s match-up in Tallahassee. He also had the blocked shot that sealed FSU’s 80-76 win last season in Louisville.

Turnovers: Among ACC teams, only Georgia Tech is turning the ball over more than Florida State. The Seminoles give it away an average of 14.5 times per game and did so 21 times against Syracuse on Tuesday night. FSU turned the ball over 13 times in each of the three match-ups with Louisville and finished -9 over the three contests, losing the battle every time. FSU does force nearly 16 turnovers per game and is in the middle of the pack in the conference in turnover margin. Louisville forces 12.8 turnovers and gives it away 12.6 times per contest. In ACC games, Louisville is forcing the third-most turnovers at 14.2 per game.

Number to Pay Attention To

5: Florida State will look for its fifth straight ACC win on Saturday. That’s happened just once under Leonard Hamilton. The Seminoles won seven straight conference games and eventually, the ACC Tournament during the 2011-12 season.

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