After a long break, the Florida State Seminoles welcome the Alabama A&M Bulldogs to the Tucker Center for the second to last out of conference game. Despite being on break since December 22nd, the Seminoles moved into both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Poll for the first time this year. The Seminoles are ranked 22nd and 25th in the respective polls. They currently rank 42nd in the Pomeroy ratings and 44th in the RPI. Alabama A&M currently ranks 345th in the Pomeroy Rankings and 352nd in the RPI. Take a look after the jump for the rest of the game preview and game thread.
Make sure you check out all the great recruiting info from SWFLNole below. It's some great coverage from the Under Armour All-American Game.
Game Time: 4pm EST
Television: None. This is the second of three games not televised this year.
The Seminoles finally cracked the top 25, earning a spot in each poll. They now join Duke, North Carolina, Clemson and Georgia Tech in the national polls. Georgia Tech is only ranked in the ESPN/USA Today poll. However, the Pomeroy Rankings currently have the Seminoles 8th overall in the ACC based on their overall ranking of 44. (This was at the time of writing the article on 12/30, the rankings have since changed) The teams ahead of Florida State are the following: Duke (3), Clemson (16), Miami (23) , UNC (26), Georgia Tech (28), Wake Forest (35), Maryland (42). The Noles have the second based defensive efficiency in the ACC, ranking 8th nationally just behind Duke at 7th, but have the worst offensive efficiency in the conference, 161st nationally. Tonight, the Seminoles have the opportunity to make those numbers look better against the Alabama A&M Bulldogs.
Alabama A&M enters tonight's game with a 3-4 record with wins over Oakwood, Martin Methodist and Tuskegee. Of those three, only Oakwood is a Division I school, Tuskegee is a Division II school and Martin Methodist is an NAIA Division I school. The Bulldog's four losses were at the hands of South Carolina, Stillman (Div II), Auburn and Tennessee St. They lost to Tennessee St by three points and the game was on the road. This will be the Bulldog's third road game of the year.
Here is the likely lineup for the Alabama A&M Bulldogs:
Don't be surprised if Casey Catney gets the start. He is a 6'5 190lbs Sophomore and is the leading scorer for the Bulldogs. The tallest player on their team is Alfred Frayer who is a 6'10 260lbs Junior who has seen limited time this year. Once again, the Seminoles have a huge size advantage. The average height of the Bulldogs is 6'3". Florida State averages 6'7" and has an effective height of +6.2". A&M has an effective height of -2.3". This should be another night that the Seminoles are able to dominate in the paint.
The Bulldogs have an offensive efficiency of 78.8, which ranks 344th in the country. Their defensive efficiency ranks 301st i the nation with an overall value of 109. They do like to play fast with an adjusted tempo of 73.7. This may be their way of making up for a lack of interior size. Remember the Tennessee Martin game in which the Seminoles played their highest paced tempo game of the year at 84. Smaller teams will try to get out and run to prevent bigger teams from getting established in the half court to exploit the size advantage. Fortunately, the Seminoles have the athletes to get out and run as well.
Where the Bulldogs get into trouble is that they do not shoot well at all, eFG% 41% and they turn the ball over on one out of ever four possessions. Keep in mind that the Seminoles have been holding opponents to a FG% of only 34%. Alabama A&M has yet to see a defense as skilled as the Seminoles. They are not effective rebounders either, allowing their opponents to grab almost half of every 70% of A&M's offensive rebound opportunities and half of their own offensive rebound opportunities. The one thing they do well is get to the free throw line, but when they get there they only shoot 52%.
The Seminoles will go back to the lineup of Singleton, Reid, Alabi, Dulkys and Kitchen. Reid missed the last game due to an illness. This lineup has been working well for the Noles and they are getting comfortable with it. However, if Michael Snaer continues to play the way he has been recently he may be moving into the starting lineup sooner than later. Some have been concerned about Kitchen's offensive output in the last few games, particularly given the level of competition, Consider this. In his last 79 minutes of game play, almost four games, he has 17 assists and only five turnovers, which equates to an assist to turnover ration of 3.4:1. Singleton will continue to demonstrate his defensive skills tonight. He currently ranks first in the ACC in steals per game and is tied for 7th in blocked shots.
Here is the four factors match up: (Thanks to Robbie at Statsheet.com for starting to provide the preview graphs)
The match up doesn't seem so bad when you initially look at the graph, but consider the competition. A&M is averaging 69 points per game. Florida State only allows 58. A&M allows 74 points per game; FSU scores 71 per game. This could be another dominating defensive performance for the Noles.
Prediction: Florida State 89 Alabama A&M 49
Game Time: 4pm EST