It's not quite March, but Florida State fans will forgive Matthew Cleveland for getting the madness started a few days early. The five-star freshman hit one of the best shots of the season, heaving in a buzzer-beater from 3-point range to give the Seminoles a 64-63 road win vs. Virginia on Saturday.
Virginia appeared to seal the game when Armaan Franklin laid the ball in to give the Cavaliers a 63-61 lead. But the Seminoles called timeout and hurled the ball to Cleveland, who didn't even have time to look at the basket before taking a shot.
It didn't matter.
Florida State moves to 15-13 on the season, including an 8-10 mark in the ACC. The Seminoles close out the regular season with home games against Notre Dame and N.C. State next week.
For its part, Virginia was trying to play its way into the NCAA Tournament, so the last-second loss carries an extra bit of sting. The Cavaliers are now 17-12 and 11-8 in ACC play, with the Cavaliers finishing at Louisville.
Earlier this week, Duke defeated Virginia 65-61, Blue Devil coach Mike Krzyzewski lobbied for the Cavaliers as an NCAA Tournament team.
"There's no question that Virginia is an NCAA Tournament team," Krzyzewski said. "So much of these numbers, you've got to be careful. You need to give the eye test too. They are playing as well as anyone in our conference right now, and have been for about a month. They had back-to-back Miami games, back-to-back Duke games – the two of us are two of the top four teams record-wise, and they're 3-1. It'd be a sin if they're not in the NCAA Tournament. It almost makes me [think], 'What am I talking about?' They have to be in. They're that good. They really are that good, and Tony [Bennett] is that good."