Time to spoil the Boston Tea Party
Preview and Game Thread inside.
No Let Downs.
Turnovers get the best of us in this one.
Clemson on Saturday.
And then there were four: Boston College, Clemson, Duke and Virginia Tech. Four games for FSU to prove to the world that we are absolutely deserving of an ACC bid, with or without success in the ACC tournament. We have one of the more difficult finishes to the season and it is unlikely that we will win all four; we need to win two and have good showings in the others. Regardless, I still think we're in. Here are a couple of articles about the current state of affairs:
Our win in Blacksburg certainly pushed us further away from the bubble. It wasn't the prettiest or easiest of wins, but it was a win. After starting at a blistering pace with Derwin Kitchen hitting 3 pointers at will, the Noles settled into a more realistic shooting percentage. And, Virginia Tech's scoring threats started hitting three pointers. However, the Noles escaped another heart breaker to earn the 8th victory in ACC play, placing them in a three way tie with Duke and Clemson in the second spot. As Hamilton said, "We’ve had enough of those Hail Mary shots go against us at the buzzer. So I don’t know. Maybe it’s our turn. But we had defended them well enough to put us in that position. And I thought a lot of guys contributed tonight. I’m very pleased with the effort of everyone that went in.” Douglas lead the team to victory sinking free throw after free throw and ended it all by saying, "This was a real big win."
Image from www.seminoles.com
Aside from outstanding defense, the Noles showed more confidence and precision on offense in the first half. In the game thread, a number of our readers commented on the ball movement and the pressure that our offense was putting on the Hokie's defense. VTech typically likes to run a pressure 2-3 zone defense. We shot them out of it only minutes into the first half, showing patience and thoughtful ball movement and motion away from the ball. It was refreshing. Unfortunately, our lead and our confidence went when we started to rely on three point shots. Despite the "purpose" on offense, we played our second slowest paced game of the season but it was our third best offensive efficiency on the year and believe it or not, it was our lowest FTRate % of the year. VTech only had a FTRate% of 32%. In general, we have only lost when our opponent shoots FT% of 50% or greater. Theory holds true.
Tonight, we head further up the coast to visit Chestnut Hill and the Boston College Eagles, who have pulled off two huge upsets: UNC and Duke. They currently sit at 7-6 in ACC play and 19-9 overall, with big wins over Maryland, VTech, Providence, UAB and the previously mentioned upsets. But, they have fallen to St Louis, a very good Purdue team and the 10,000 men from Harvard. They currently sit at 59th overall in the Pomeroy Standings. Their offense is 29th and their defense is 144th. Similar to the Noles they are a relatively young team lead by a senior guard. They average 1.22 years of college experience and Tyrese Rice, a 6'1 guard, is by far their best player.
Here are their numbers on the year:
Raw Efficiency : 110.3 ( 34) 103.3 (230)
Adj Efficiency : 113.6 ( 29) 99.5 (144)
Effective FG% : 50.6 (115) 46.8 ( 78)
Turnover Pct. : 19.1 ( 83) 17.8 (314)
Off. Rebound% : 40.8 ( 7) 36.7 (300)
Free Throw Rate: 36.9 (163) 34.2 (125)
3-Point FG% : 34.3 (159) 31.3 ( 35)
2-Point FG% : 50.1 ( 88) 46.7 (115)
Free Throw Pct.: 72.0 ( 69) 69.7 (218)
Block Pct. : 11.6 (316) 10.6 ( 77)
Steal Pct. : 10.0 (186) 8.9 (240)
3PA/FGA : 32.2 (189) 29.2 ( 53)
A/FGM : 57.4 ( 92) 47.6 ( 26)
They play a slower tempo game, averaging 68 possessions per game and keeping those possessions alive by having a ridiculous 40% OReb%. This will give us trouble. How often have we seen our defense force a team into a bad shot with only seconds left on the shot clock only to watch them grab the board? They shoot the ball well and they don't turn the ball over very often. They play a relatively balanced game, only shooting about 32% of their shots from three point land, which is actually slightly below national average. Where they get in trouble...they get blocked early and often. Solomon...are you listening? I will be interested to see how they attack the paint on us. This high percentage may be due to an increased number of shots in the paint and being aggressive around the basket.
Clearly, once Boston College entered ACC play, their margin of victory has decreased significantly.
Consistent shooting percentage and TO% and an excellent OReb% have made BC a threat in ACC play. In general, when BC has lost there has been a significant discrepancy between their FTRate% and their opponents and a significant discrepancy between TO%. Turn the ball over...foul your opponent...get into foul trouble...lose the game. Focus on the graph in the area from the end of December to the middle of January.
Boston College does not do a good job at generating turnovers. In our last two games, we have faced similar opponents, meaning VTech nor Miami caused turnovers. We had two of our lowest TO% in those two games. We have always done a nice job causing TO regardless of who we play, a possession team or not.
Our biggest problems against BC will be their ability to get offensive rebounds and that they play mostly man defense. We will need to be patient for the first few minutes of the game. Our focus on defense will be to stop Tyrese Rice, their senior guard, who is shooting an eFG% of 52.4 and takes almost 25% of their shots while he is on the court. He distributes the ball well and gets to the line often. Joe Trapani is their big man and he does a better job on the defensive glass than most and takes about a quarter of their shots. Rakim Sanders is their defensive specialist and also does a nice job on the offensive end.
Here are the line ups:
F #31 Chris Singleton (7.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg; First career game against Boston College)
F #41 Uche Echefu (9.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg; 8 pts and 5 rebs vs. Boston College, Feb. 23, 2008)
C #32 Solomon Alabi (7.9 ppg, 2.0 bpg; First career game against Boston College)
G #22 Derwin Kitchen (7.9 ppg, 2.3 apg; First career game against Boston College)
G #23 Toney Douglas (20.5 ppg, 1.9 spg; 20 pts and 2 stls vs. Boston College, Feb. 23, 2008)
F #11 Corey Raji (10.1 ppg, 6.4 apg; 2 pts and 1 asts vs. Florida State, Feb. 23, 2008)
F #12 Joe Tripani (13.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg; First career game against Florida State)
C #52 Josh Southern (5.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg; 11 pts and 1 stl vs. Florida State, Feb. 23, 2008)
G #4 Tyrese Rice (17.8 ppg, 5.3 apg; 23 pts and 3 asts vs. Florida State, Feb. 11, 2007)
G #15 Rakim Sanders (12.1 ppg, 1.6 apg; 2 pts and 1 ast vs. Florida State, Feb. 23, 2008)
Here are our most updated numbers:
Raw Efficiency : 99.8 (198) 92.9 ( 23)
Adj Efficiency : 103.5 (130) 88.3 ( 10)
Effective FG% : 48.3 (195) 44.2 ( 20)
Turnover Pct. : 22.6 (274) 23.2 ( 42)
Off. Rebound% : 35.1 ( 94) 35.3 (264)
Free Throw Rate: 41.8 ( 43) 36.1 (169)
3-Point FG% : 32.8 (228) 31.7 ( 49)
2-Point FG% : 47.9 (175) 42.4 ( 19)
Free Throw Pct.: 72.0 ( 66) 68.2 (129)
Block Pct. : 7.7 ( 98) 16.1 ( 8)
Steal Pct. : 10.0 (189) 12.9 ( 16)
3PA/FGA : 34.2 (132) 35.4 (256)
A/FGM : 52.7 (209) 46.5 ( 19)
Broken record: limit turnovers, better shot selection and rebound well. BC is a tough team and are looking for a win to stay in the hunt for a spot in the big dance. Beating FSU would help their resume immensly. Beating BC on the road would solidy our spot in the tournament.
No Let Downs.
(I'm at the Chicago Bulls game tonight, so I look forward to reading your comments after the game)