Well well well. Here we are. I have to admit something: I wrote the preview for this game Wednesday night. Unfortunately, I wrote it anticipating a matchup with Clemson. A funny thing happened along the way, however, as the #12 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets upset the #5 seed Clemson Tigers.
Our amazing Basketball writer TrueCubbie is taking his medical boards. Pray that he does well, I'm sure he'd appreciate it. Looks like you're stuck with me. Inside you'll find our preview. It won't be as good as TrueCubbie's. I hope to make it close.
Preview Inside, let's do this.
What a wild conference weekend it's been so far. West Virginia played king of the mountain over Pitt. The Cowboys of Oklahoma State outdrew the Sooners of Oklahoma. The Baylor Bears clipped the Kansas Jayhawks. Heck, even the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech stung Clemson. Anything can and often does happen in college basketball. Conference tournaments are even crazier because teams often have varying levels of desperation and motivation.
So, why are we playing Georgia Tech and not Clemson?
Because Georgia Tech had their 2nd best shooting night in almost two years. They did other things well, like grabbing their misses (and there weren't many), but for the most part their shots just went down. Clemson didn't play a bad game, GTech just hit shots. More on them later.
We've discussed how cool it is to have a bye over the past week. You improve your odds of winning the tournament by virtue of playing one less game. You don't have to play on back to back to back to back days (if you were do lucky). If there's another advantage, however, I think it's focus. Maybe focus isn't the right word. Maybe it should be awareness. Georgia Tech is not a good team. Clemson got trapped today. I don't think there is any risk that the 'Noles will take Georgia Tech lightly. They know that Clemson is a good team and saw GTech blitz the tigers today.
Florida State has a real chance to do something special.
He thought that the 'Noles were the 5th most likely team to win the tournament. If you don't understand the chart, move on. It's not essential. Two things have happened since Jacob put this together. First, UNC announced that stud PG (and undeserving ACC PotY) Ty Lawson would be doubtful for the tournament. Second, Clemson lost. FSU is looking as games against Georgia Tech, and then (presumably) UNC and Wake/ Duke. That's very tough. It's alot tougher, however, to run through Clemson, a healthy UNC, and then the winner of Wake v. Duke. FSU started this tournament at about 15/1 to take home the ACC crown. Right now they're probably about 9/1 to pull into the final station (Jeff Cameron Tournament Train shoutout).
Earlier in the week Evenflow58 posted an enjoyable fanshot, discussing the merits of performing well in a conference tournament. I actually said that I would prefer to lose this game and take the rest time, as I didn't see the 'Noles improving their seed much. I've now pulled a 180. FSU has a real shot to do some damage against this weakened field (and get full credit for beagting some name schoole).
Besides the ACC title, there could be something else on the line here: Miami. FSU is a candidate to play in the East Regional. That would mean playing their first two tournament games in Miami, a place rich with FSU alums. A win against Georgia Tech would go a long way torwards letting the 'Noles stay home. The alternative is Boise or Portland. I'm not a fan of cold weather.
So, what's happened since we last played Georgia Tech on February 5th?
Well, Leonard Hamilton was named ACC Coach of the Year, Toney Douglas won ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and was the top scorer in the ACC during ACC play. Somehow, the best defensive player was also the guy who scored the most in conference, and yet Toney Douglas did not win the ACC player of the year. Go Figure.
Here's the table from out 62-58 win over Tech on February 5th.
Terrible shooting night. Our defense played well. If we shoot closer to 45%…this game isn’t even close. If we rebound a couple more shots, it’s not even close. __ TrueCubbie
We had a 10 day layoff before playing Tech the last time. The 'Noles looked rusty at best, struggling with their shot.
Both teams have improved since February 5th.
In fact, here's an interesting graphic showing the Pomeroy Prediction against the Vegas Prediction, throughout the season.
The Red line is the spread for each game minus the current Pomeroy prediction for that game. The Black line uses a moving average of the five most recent games to provide a more useful comparison; that can be seen as a snapshot of the oddsmakers' opinion of the team at that point in time, compared to their current Pomeroy rating. FSU is favored by 5 over GTech. Considering this is a pseudo home game for them (Georgia Tech is in Atlanta), that's probably a good line.
Here's Tech's Four Factors (does not include the win over Clemson)
Adj Efficiency : 99.0 (214) 91.7 ( 29)
Effective FG% : 47.6 (228) 46.6 ( 63)
Turnover Pct. : 22.5 (282) 21.6 (108)
Off. Rebound% : 35.0 ( 95) 32.1 (135)
Free Throw Rate: 36.1 (183) 39.4 (243)
3-Point FG% : 32.2 (255) 32.4 ( 69)
2-Point FG% : 47.4 (196) 45.6 ( 73)
Free Throw Pct.: 62.5 (322) 68.2 (134)
Block Pct. : 6.0 ( 16) 12.8 ( 27)
Steal Pct. : 11.7 (312) 11.1 ( 75)
3PA/FGA : 25.8 (315) 33.5 (197)
A/FGM : 56.8 (105) 56.2 (232)
What stands out? Tech can't shoot, they can't hold onto the ball, and they really can't defend without fouling. Tech cannot shoot 3 pointers at all. 255th in the Nation is really bad. They are almost dead last nationally in free throw shooting %. They play incredibly fast (21st Nationally in tempo). Tech does play good defense (29th nationally), and they are rough. They block shots well. Further, Tech never gets their shot blocked. Ever. Tech will play mostly man defense. They are 28th in effective height.
Here's their lineup.
TrueCubbie from Feb 5th:
So what do you need to know about their guys? Lawal, a 6'8 216 So, is their major offensive threat and rarely comes off the floor. He gets the ball on a quarter of possible possessions. He shoots an eFG of 56% and takes an overwhelming majority of their shots. He also gets it done on the offensive and defensive glass, ranking 69th and 98th nationally in OR% and DR%. This is the GTech equivalent of Tyler Hansbrough (just an analogy...they are not in the same category...but in terms of constantly hustling).His is an athletic beast and it will be interesting to see how we match up with him. He gets it done in the paint night in and night out. If we want to keep Tech out of this game, we have to limits his work down low.
Alade Aminu, a 6'10 Sr. and Iman Shumpert 6'4 185 Fr are their next best players. Neither gets a lot done on the offensive end but certainly worth paying close attention to.(However, Shumpert lead the way to Tech's win over Wake) Shumpert has done an excellent job stepping into the starting role and playing a ton of minutes. He does distribute the ball well but has a tendency to turn it over as well, with a 28% TO%. Keep in mind that point guards are more likely to have higher TO% than a center for example.
Now the 'Noles numbers:
Adj Efficiency : 104.6 (114) 88.0 ( 9)
Effective FG% : 48.7 (184) 44.5 ( 19)
Turnover Pct. : 22.7 (291) 23.0 ( 43)
Off. Rebound% : 35.2 ( 82) 35.5 (276)
Free Throw Rate: 40.6 ( 67) 35.6 (157)
3-Point FG% : 33.7 (180) 32.2 ( 63)
2-Point FG% : 47.7 (185) 42.3 ( 16)
Free Throw Pct.: 72.5 ( 56) 68.3 (138)
Block Pct. : 8.1 (122) 16.0 ( 6)
Steal Pct. : 10.1 (202) 12.3 ( 27)
3PA/FGA : 33.8 (145) 36.2 (280)
A/FGM : 52.8 (205) 47.1 ( 23)
Season long fans are familiar with our turnover woes. The poor defensive rebounding is of course concerning. Know what's not concerning? Our beastly defense that keeps the Garnet and Gold in every game they play. 9th in the Nation is special, and we've been in the top 10 defensively for the last month. We block better than one in 7 shots.
Keys to the game:
- GTech wants to play very fast. The 'Noles want to play at a moderate tempo. I advocate a very slow tempo here because it will frustrate Tech, an athletic team that is totally inept at half court offense.
- Play ugly! A clutch and grab, physical basketball game with lots of fouls favors the 'Noles. GTech fouls a lot, while FSU. Flst shoots free throws very well (56th nationally), while GTech can't hit at all (322nd nationally). Additionally, the 'Noles are a lot deeper than the Yellow Jackets.
- PATIENCE on offense. Tech can't help but fouling people. They are not fundamentally sound at all. Jacking up questionable 3pt shots early in the shot clock is never a good idea, but it would be especially foolish today. So would trying to run with this Yellowjacket squad. The 'Noles live at the line and GTech will oblige us if we're patient.
- NO easy 2pt shots for Tech.. GTech can't shoot 3's or free throws. They make their living on the fast break and on the inside, as they are pretth athletic. FSU must block their shot or foul them hard if they come inside. As Tim Floyd of USC says "you might beat us, but you're not going to beat us your way." That applies here. Turn Tech into a jump shooting team. If GTech shoots 40% from 3pt land and gets us in foul trouble while hitting their free throws, the 'Noles will tip their cap and get ready for the tournament. Will they be able to? Doubtful.
- Playing on the last key, do not allow 2nd chance points. Tech is a decent but not great offensive rebounding team.
TV: ESPN2 or Comcast or "http://www.justin.tv/insgadget"
This one's for all the
This one's for the Palms.
Let's get to Miami! GO NOLES!
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