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March 8, 2013
NC State knows what is on the line
Coaches often debate the foul or not to foul scenario when leading with under 10 seconds left, but another last-second phenomenon has popped up in the ACC the last few years.
Florida State senior wing Michael Snaer has hit six game-winning shots in the closing seconds of games, with Virginia his latest victim Thursday night.
Snaer drove in and made the basket and was fouled with 4.4 seconds left, and FSU went on to win 53-51 to give the Seminoles (16-14, 8-9 ACC) some momentum going into Saturday's home game against NC State (22-8, 11-6 ACC). Snaer is the lone scholarship senior who will be celebrating Senior Day for Florida State.
NC State coach Mark Gottfried said a couple of weeks ago exactly what he would do if the Wolfpack were in a close game against FSU. Virginia coach Tony Bennett used a different tactic and got burned by Snaer.
"First of all, Michael Snaer is an unbelievably clutch player," Gottfried said. "I don't know in college basketball if we've seen one play make that many game-winning shots. That's amazing.
"If it's a close game and they have the ball, we'll double him, triple him, put four on him and might put all five. I might go guard him and we'll all guard him. It's hard to watch that guy to continue to do that. If we are in that situation, we'll do everything in our power to make sure he doesn't get to shoot."
NC State easily defeated Florida State 84-66 on Jan. 19 at PNC Arena. The Wolfpack are fighting for a top four spot in the ACC and bye next Thursday at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
"We've put ourselves in a position, winning the last six of seven, now we have an opportunity to potentially help ourselves," Gottfried said. "Florida State is going to be confident after last nights win. It's difficult to play a team twice in a short amount of times sometimes. It should be a heck of a day Saturday."
NC State played on Thursday last year, and advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. Whatever hand the Wolfpack is dealt, the team is ready to make the most of it.
"Last year didn't hurt us, and it might have helped us, who knows?" Gottfried said. "If your goal is to win the ACC Tournament, obviously you want to play the least amount of games possible to do that."