No. 13 Florida State has the tall task of trying to improve its record to 5-0 against AP Top 25 teams on Thursday night at No. 9 NC State. The game begins at 6 p.m. on the ACC Network.
FSU owns a road win at No. 23 Miami, two neutral site wins — vs. No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 24 Michigan — and a home win over 19th-ranked Michigan State this season.
The Seminoles (15-2, 4-2) are one of the top offensive teams in the nation through the midway point of the regular season. Florida State is first in the ACC in scoring offense (77.24 ppg) and field goal percentage (47.3 percent), 12th nationally in scoring offense and 13th nationally in offensive points per possession (1.059 pts/possession).
Florida State and NC State have been dominant through most of the season. The Wolfpack (15-1, 4-1) lead the confer- ence in scoring margin (+20.13) while FSU is second at +17.82. In ACC play, FSU’s scoring margin has shrunk to +8.33, while NC State’s is +14.60 (second-most in the ACC behind Louisville’s +18.80 scoring margin).
In FSU’s four games this season vs. AP Top 25 opponents, Kiah Gillespie has averaged 20.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and shot 52 percent (26-of-50) from the floor and 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from 3-point range. Included in this is her triple-double (14 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists) vs. No. 24 Michigan on Dec. 22.
The Seminoles are shooting 47.3 percent from the floor this season. As a program, the last time it shot 47 percent or better for an entire season was in the 1991-92 year (47.3 percent that season).
ACC honors three as track performers of the week
Strong performances in the opening meet of the indoor track & field season paved the way for the nationally-ranked Florida State men and women to land three of four ACC Performer of the Week honors on Wednesday.
The top-ranked men secured four victories at Saturday’s Orange & Purple Elite meet at Clemson, including honorees Trey Cunningham in the 60-meter hurdles and Isaac Grimes in the long jump. Jayla Kirkland posted the lone victory for the 11th-ranked women in the 60-meter dash.
Cunningham posted the nation’s fastest time on his way to ACC Men’s Track Performer of the Week honors, while Grimes, the ACC Men’s Field Performer of the Week, set the facility record and now owns the No. 2 mark nationally. Kirkland also took down the facility record and ranks No. 2 nationally.
“If you look at those three collectively, those are marks that could win Performer of the Week in the ACC in the championship season,” Florida State coach Bo Braman said. “Those are really historically good marks. We’re over the moon with how we kicked this season off. You’re talking about two facility records and a guy that’s No. 1 in the country.
“To come out of the blocks like this is fantastic. These January 11 Athlete of the Week honors could be March 13 Athlete of the Week from the NCAA Championships.”
One of 10 men selected to The Bowerman Preseason Watch List, Cunningham launched his junior season with a nation-leading time of 7.61. It was the fastest season-opening mark of the Winfield, Ala. native’s career and led a 1-2-5 finish by the Noles in the event. He also anchored the 4×400 relay to an ACC-leading time of 3:12.56 with a lineup including a pair of freshmen.
It is the second ACC Indoor Performer of the Week honor for Cunningham, to go along with a pair of ACC Outdoor Performer of the Week honors.
Grimes, a junior transfer from NCAA Division II Chadron (Neb.) State, won the long jump with a leap of 7.91 meters (25-11.5). Though no stranger to success – Grimes was the 2019 NCAA Division II indoor long jump champion – it was the fifth-best long jump mark in FSU’s rich history of the event; quite a debut for the Moreno Valley, Calif. native. He shattered the previous facility mark of 7.82 meters, shared by Florida’s KeAndre Bates and O’Brien Waisome of Texas.
Kirkland was dominant in the 60-meter dash final, running away from a field which included World Athletics U18 100-meter gold medalist Briana Williams. The Noles junior from Birmingham, Ala. ran 7.17 in the final, lowering her previous best of 7.24 and climbing from fourth to second on FSU’s all-time list. She took down the facility record held since 2013 by 17-time All-American Dezerea Bryant.
Kirkland now owns three career ACC Indoor Performer of the Week honors.
Florida State returns to action Friday and Saturday at the Vanderbilt Invitational, where Grimes will lead a jumps group into the competition, which will include the debut of transfer and 2019 All-American Fabian Edoki.
The Noles’ decorated women’s distance group will kick off the season, as will the throws group.
Ariya Massoudi and Bob Ferrante discussed FSU men’s and women’s basketball on the Tuck Talk podcast. Listen here