TV Schedule: Saturday, Jan. 30, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3
Arena: Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Fla.
Both of these teams look more than capable of making a push to the 2016 NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, it looks more and more like only one of these teams get there, making the showdown in the Donald L. Tucker Center as close as we can get to a must-win game at this point in the season.
Clemson would be a solid 2016 NCAA tournament lock if it was not for a few late game slip-ups against teams like the Alabama Crimson Tide, Georgia Bulldogs and Minnesota Golden Gophers. With a recent stretch of in-conference games that included three straight wins over the then No. 9 Duke Blue Devils, then No. 16 Louisville Cardinals and then No. 9 Miami Hurricanes, the Tigers are one of the more dangerous mid-level teams in the country.
Likewise, Florida State has shown flashes of a potential to become one of the marquee giant-killers in college basketball. Young, talented and unpredictable, the Seminoles boast wins over the Virginia Cavaliers and VCU Rams, but have a horrible loss to Hofstra.
The good news for Florida State is that none of their losses except for the aforementioned Hofstra loss would be considered “bad.” The bad news for the Seminoles is they have several below average teams left on their schedule, and one lapse in judgement could see them on the outside looking into the 2016 NCAA tournament.
The Tigers have yet to win a true road game this season, but I believe they get the better of Florida State in this one. Clemson just needs to avoid bad losses to make the Big Dance, whereas I think we can pencil this Seminoles squad in for the NIT this season and the NCAA tournament next year.
Prediction: Clemson 72, Florida State 68