Inconsistent Florida State targets living-on-the-edge Louisville

NCAA Men's Basketball

Louisville’s knack for winning close games has it sharing first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference heading into Saturday’s matchup against host Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Cardinals (10-4, 4-0 ACC) are tied with Miami atop the conference standings and looking for their fourth consecutive win overall. Louisville has won all four of its ACC games so far by five points or fewer and by a total of 15 points.

Louisville continues to get clutch performances from different sources. In the Cardinals’ 75-72 win over Pitt on Wednesday, El Ellis scored 18 points off the bench — 14 of which came in a second half when they shot 53.8 percent as a team.

Ellis scored only one point over Louisville’s previous two games combined.

Noah Locke, who transferred this summer after three seasons at Florida, leads the Cardinals in scoring (11.1 points per game). Malik Williams is Louisville’s only other player averaging double figures in scoring (11.1 per game) and leads the team in rebounding (9.1 per game).

“We just have to continue to look through the windshield, not the rearview mirror,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “We feel like every time you win a game in this league, regardless of what people say, it’s difficult.”

The Seminoles (7-5, 1-2) are also trying to look ahead as their bumpy start continues following a 76-54 lopsided loss at Wake Forest on Tuesday.

FSU shot a dismal 24.2 percent from the field, including 16 percent from 3-point range (4-for-25) as it continued to struggle to string together solid performances. Caleb Mills, the Seminoles’ leading scorer (12.1 points per game) shot just 2-for-13 from the field and Malik Osborne (11.9 points per game) went 2-for-8, missing all four attempts from beyond the arc.

The Seminoles suffered their most lopsided conference defeat since 2017 and worst shooting performance since 2010.

“Unfortunately, sometimes when the ball is not going in the basket, you allow your offense to affect your defense,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said after the game. “I’m sure that had a lot to do with our lack of confidence.”

–Field Level Media

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