Florida State in search of sixth-straight first-round win against UNC Greensboro

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 6:36 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - It’s been a long wait for Leonard Hamilton’s squad, but come Saturday afternoon, Florida State will finally take the NCAA Tournament court to tip-off against UNC Greensboro.

On paper, the Seminoles and Spartans matchup quite evenly: Both enjoy scoring the rock (FSU averages 78.9 points per game, UNCG averages 73.6), both shoot well from the floor (FSU: 47.4%, UNCG: 42.4%) and both are aggressive on the glass (FSU: 37.4 rebounds per game, UNCG: 39.4).

The Spartans enter Saturday’s contest looking not only for their first ever NCAA tournament win (0-3) but their first win against the Seminoles in program history (FSU has won the previous four meetings).

Leading the way for the Spartans is Isaiah Miller, the two-time reigning Southern Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and the reigning SoCon player of the tournament.

Miller does it all for UNCG: He leads the way in scoring (19.3 points per game), rebounds (6.9) and assists (4.0) all while shooting 46.6% from the floor. As he goes, the Spartans go.

In 2018 it was Mfiondu Kabengale. In 2019, it was Devin Vassell. Last season, it was Patrick Williams. And this year, it’s freshman phenom Scottie Barnes who has picked up the mantle of Seminole Sixth Man.

While he doesn’t lead the Noles in scoring (he’s behind only M.J. Walker’s 13.0 points and RaiQuan Gray’s 12.0 per game), Barnes does average 11 points per game and is shooting 50.0% from the floor as arguably the most balanced asset in FSU’s attack.

Barnes is also paying some of his best basketball of the season: Over his last three games, he’s scored in double-figures each time out (averaging 16.3) and is averaging 3.0 rebounds a game in over 28.6 minutes off the bench.

A win Saturday for the Seminoles would extend their program-best mark of having won a first-round tournament game in six-straight NCAA Tournaments, dating back to 2011.

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