No. 25 Florida State warming up as Georgia Tech visits
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No. 25 Florida State has crept back into the AP poll, and now the Seminoles have a chance to get back to .500 in conference play when they host Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Florida State (15-5, 3-4 ACC) started the league slate in rough fashion, losing badly to Virginia on the road, barely beating Miami at home, then dropping back-to-back-to-back games against Duke, Pitt and Boston College.
Florida State was ranked No. 13 at the time of the loss to the then-No. 1 Blue Devils, who drained a 3-pointer with no time left to escape the upset, and the Seminoles actually moved up two spots to No. 11. But ugly road losses to the Panthers and Eagles sent the Seminoles tumbling out of the Top 25.
Florida State's ship, however, seems to be on its way to being righted after two consecutive wins -- a 77-68 home victory against Clemson and a 78-66 road win against Miami last week to complete the season sweep of the Seminoles' in-state rival.
Now comes Georgia Tech, which enters the Donald L. Tucker Center on Saturday having dropped four of its last five games, including two in a row against Duke and North Carolina.
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said you can't look at Georgia Tech's record and recent struggles as any indication of how tough this game could be for the Seminoles.
"Georgia Tech creates a lot of indecision on team's parts by mixing man-to-man and zone principles," Leonard Hamilton said on Noles247.com.
"They have a different type of match-up zone that you don't go against very much. Then they change their defenses enough that inexperienced players sometimes will start thinking and become slow players. We just feel that we are going to be who we are. And like always, the team that comes the closest to being who they normally are is the team that comes out on top."
This concludes a stretch of three consecutive games against ranked teams for the Yellow Jackets (11-10, 3-5).
"No time for woe is me," Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said following the loss to North Carolina. "We play Florida State on Saturday. That's a tough stretch, Duke, Carolina, and Florida State, but that's the ACC."
Florida State enters the game with seven players averaging at least seven points, led by forward Mfiondu Kabengele (13.1 points per game) and guard Terance Mann (11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game).
Georgia Tech, meanwhile, doesn't have that kind of depth of offensive production.
The Yellow Jackets are paced by guard Jose Alvarado at 13.1 points per game. Forward James Banks III is at 10.7 points per game.
After Saturday's game, Georgia Tech plays host to Clemson on Wednesday, while Florida State will have a quick turnaround with a game at Syracuse on Tuesday.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 1, 2019