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Basketball preview: UCF at FSU

Of all the streaks that Florida State men’s basketball has built up of late, the home win streak (now at 27) may be the most impressive. But there are plenty of others, including a 12-game win streak against in-state teams.

FSU’s accumulation of wins have come against Florida, Miami, North Florida and dates to a Jan. 2018 victory over the Hurricanes. Next up is a matchup on Saturday against UCF at 9 p.m. (ACC Network).

The Seminoles are 11-0 all-time in the series, although the teams have not played since Dec. 2014.

FSU will also be looking to win a 41st straight home game against non-conference opponents.

UCF has only played twice this season, knocking off Auburn on Nov. 30 (63-55) but falling at Michigan on Dec. 6 (80-58). The Knights haven’t played in nearly two weeks and have struggled from the floor. While it’s just two games, UCF is making just 39 percent of shots from the floor and 30 percent of 3-pointers. The Knights are also depleted due to injury, notably at guard.

In what has been a bizarre start to the season for some teams, especially one that lacked exhibition games, FSU and UCF are similar in that neither have had much time on the court to figure out chemistry and rotations. The Seminoles fought through struggles — a poor free-throw shooting night in an overtime win vs. Indiana, first-half sluggishness in an early tip against Florida and a sloppy second half before pulling away against Georgia Tech.

But great teams are measured by how they fight even on an off night. No. 15 FSU is 4-0 because it has overcome those shortcomings with quality performances from veterans as well as newcomers like Scottie Barnes.

“We have shown we can be very efficient at times but it’s obvious we’re not quite all in sync,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Even though we have periods where we look efficient offensively, we have periods where we’re not recognizing the proper approach to the game.

“What we’re doing now is just trying to learn on the fly and we feel very fortunate we are undefeated at this point while we’re still trying to find ourselves.”

The Knights are ranked 113rd in KenPom’s basketball ratings. FSU is 14th.

Projected FSU starters

F RaiQuan Gray (8.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg; Season-high 12 points in Florida State’s win over Indiana)

C Balsa Koprivica (10.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg; Season-high 13 points in Florida State’s win over North Florida)

G Anthony Polite (10.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg; Season-high 14 points in Florida State’s win over Florida)

G Scottie Barnes (11.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg; Season-high 17 points in Florida State’s win over Florida)

G M.J. Walker (17.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg; Season-high 19 points in Florida State’s overtime win over Indiana)

Projected FSU reserves

RayQuan Evans (3.0 ppg, 1.3 apg; Season-high 5 points in Florida State’s win over Florida)

Malik Osborne (4.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg; Season-high 6 points in Florida State’s win over North Florida)

Wyatt Wilkes (3.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg; Season-high 11 points in Florida State’s win over Georgia Tech)

Quincy Ballard (1.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg; 2 points in wins over North Florida and Georgia Tech)

Sardaar Calhoun (4.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg; Season-high 8 points in Florida State’s win over North Florida)

Nathanael Jack (4.5 ppg, 0.3 apg; Season-high 6 points in Florida State’s win over North Florida)

Tanor Ngom (3.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg; Season-high 6 points in Florida State’s win over Florida)

Projected UCF starters

F Jamille Reynolds (3.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg)

F C.J. Walker (5.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg)

G Brandon Mahan (16.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg)

GDarin Green, Jr. (9.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg)

G Dre Fuller (8.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg)

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