Tonight, the Florida State Seminoles try to recover from their second loss in a row in ACC play against the Virginia Tech Hokies. In what has been an interesting year in the ACC thus far, one could say that this is a must win game for the Seminoles. Who would have thought that one week in to conference play, the Virginia Cavaliers would be atop the conference standings. Granted, this is a tiny sample set and there is a long way to go. Take a look after the jump for the rest of the game preview and more thoughts on the ACC. Also, don't forget to check out our giant ACC preview here.
Game Time: 6pm EST
Television: Sun Sports
Radio: Seminoles Radio Affiliates
Opponent's Website: Gobbler Country
SB Nation Main Page Preview.Things are clearly going to change after today, but take a close look at this:
|Virginia||10-4||2-0||.8594||56||113.8||24||97.2||118||63.2||326||Sat, vs. Miami FL||(W, 66-65, 54%)|
|Duke||14-2||2-1||.9867||1||124.1||1||85.4||7||69.2||131||Sun, vs. Wake Forest||(W, 81-64, 94%)|
|Clemson||14-3||2-1||.9464||15||109.9||52||85.6||10||70.4||84||Sat, vs. North Carolina St.||(W, 71-66, 71%)|
|Wake Forest||12-3||2-1||.9017||36||106.7||89||88.0||20||71.1||53||Sun, vs. Duke||(L, 81-64, 6%)|
|Maryland||10-5||1-1||.9111||30||113.4||28||92.7||57||71.5||50||Sat, vs. Boston College||(W, 73-72, 55%)|
|Virginia Tech||13-2||1-1||.8868||46||104.3||116||87.2||15||67.7||198||Sat, vs. Florida St.||(L, 65-60, 26%)|
|North Carolina||12-5||1-1||.8868||47||110.3||50||92.2||52||75.4||7||Sat, vs. Georgia Tech||(W, 78-76, 57%)|
|Florida St.||13-4||1-2||.9219||24||105.9||95||85.5||9||69.4||122||Sat, vs. Virginia Tech||(W, 65-60, 74%)|
|Georgia Tech||12-4||1-2||.9197||27||108.3||68||87.6||17||71.4||51||Sat, vs. North Carolina||(L, 78-76, 43%)|
|Miami FL||15-2||1-2||.9075||33||110.3||49||90.4||35||67.7||199||Sat, vs. Virginia||(L, 66-65, 46%)|
|Boston College||10-7||1-2||.8122||78||108.6||64||95.6||90||66.3||256||Sat, vs. Maryland||(L, 73-72, 45%)|
|North Carolina St.||12-5||1-2||.7940||83||108.1||71||96.1||100||67.2||222||Sat, vs. Clemson||(L, 71-66, 29%)|
From Ken Pomeroy's Site.
Virginia. The only team in the ACC that remains undefeated in conference play, that could easily change today. There are going to be some outstanding games in the ACC today and if you're looking for something to watch before the football games, we would recommend checking out the UNC vs. Georgia Tech game, it will be on ESPN. If you look at the projected conference records, Duke and Clemson stand out at the top followed by a huge group of teams that are predicted to finish 8-8. Florida State is currently in that group. In fact, almost 60% of the conference is predicted to go 8-8 this year at this point in the season. Currently, the teams projected to go three through nine in the ACC are predicted to go 8-8, meaning it's going to be a tight race all the ay to the end in the ACC. Despite Florida State's two losses, they are still ranked 3rd overall in the ACC based on the Pomeroy rankings.
Tonight, the Hokies roll into the Tucker Center with a 13-2 record and are 1-1 in conference play. Virginia Tech's out of conference schedule was primarily spent at home, like most major conference teams. Their only out of conference loss was to Temple 61-50 in Philadelphia. Believe it or not, Temple is a very good basketball team; they currently rank 26th in the Pomeroy rankings and have a 14-3 record. The Owls only three losses are to Georgetown, by a point, St. John's and Kansas. So, the Hokies only blemish on their out of conference schedule really isn't a blemish. The Hokies notable wins include Iowa, Georgia, Penn St and Seton Hall.
The Hokies are almost a mirror image of the Florida State Seminoles: defense, size and youth. However, they don't turn the ball over. Currently, the Hokies have a TO% of only 18.2% and only allows a steal on 6.8% of their possessions. Fortunately, the Hokies are a good shooting team, not a great shooting team. They have an eFG% of 48 and are shooting 33% from beyond the arc. Though, few expected Maryland and NC State to shoot as well as they did beyond the arc against the Seminoles. Florida State's perimeter defense needs to improve. The Seminoles are so concerned with defending the paint they have a tendency to leave shooters wide open. Granted, many of Maryland and NC State's three point shots were made with a hand in the face and it was just one of those nights. Fortunately, the Seminoles will not be faced with the size in the paint that they have faced the last two games. Virginia Tech's tallest player is 6'9 and the need to collapse in the paint will be less. Just because they don't have a seven footer doesn't mean they aren't a big team, all of their players are in the 6'3 to 6'9 range and they average 6' 5.7", which is 38th in the nation.
To illustrate the three point shooting point even more, take a look at the following chart:
This shows the number of three point shots that Florida State's opponents have taken each game and their respective three point shooting percentage. The difference in the last two games is not the number of three point shots they have allowed, but the percentage. Unlike their out of conference opponents, the Seminoles are now faced with teams that have pure shooters. Tonight will be no different as the Seminoles have the challenge of stopping Malcolm Delaney.
Here is the likely starting lineup for the Hokies:
F #1 Terrell Bell 6'6 205lbs Junior
F #0 Jeff Allen 6'7 230lbs Junior
C #14 Victor Davila 6'8 245lbs Sophomore
G #23 Malcolm Delaney 6'3 170lbs Junior
G #5 Dorenzo Hudson 6'5 220lbs Junior
Delaney is currently averaging 20.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4 assists in 33 minutes of game play. Hudson and Allen also average double digit points with 12 points a piece. The three of them account for almost 60% of their teams total points. Allen is their defensive work horse, he has a block% of 4.7 and a steal% of 4.3 and is very active on the glass, particularly the defensive glass. Allen is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game. This is a good basketball team and they will certainly give the Seminoles a challenge tonight. Virginia Tech gave UNC a good game during the first half, but their shooting let them down in the second half and that seems to be their Achilles's heel. In their two losses, the Hokies have shot an eFG% of 38.8% and 32.5% respectively. They have only shot below 40% one other time this year and it was against UNC Greensboro. However, the factor that has the strongest correlation with winning for the Hokie's is their opponents eFG%. Meaning, they want to shut you down and have their defense lead the way. The same can be said for the Seminoles. If you shoot an eFG% over 50% against the Noles...you will win.
The Seminoles will start Kitche, Dulkys, Singleton, Alabi and Reid. Three of the Seminoles five starters are now averaging double digit points: Alabi (12.5), Singleton (10.8) and Dulkys (10.2). Snaer and Kitchen are not far behind with 8.5 each. Kitchen is starting to settle into his role as a 'true' point guard is averaging 3.9 assists per game, which is up significantly from the beginning of the year. However, he is being tentative with his shot, passing up open opportunities. He is shooting 41.9% on the year. Singleton is have a good year with one exception: the turnovers. He is averaging 3.4 turnovers per game. Michael Snaer has the second highest turnover total on the team with 2.2. Singleton is making up his turnover problems with aggressive play on the defensive end and is averaging 2.2 steals per game. Alabi is quietly leading the team in points. He has scored 213 points on the year and accounts for 17% of the team's total points. Alabi will need to stay out of foul trouble early as this team is very different when he is in the game.
Keys to the Game:
1. Don't give the Hokies any confidence. Like the Wolfpack, the Hokies are looking for their second big win in the ACC in a row. They knocked off Miami in what many considered an upset going into the game. Don't allow the Hokies any highlight reel plays early. Don't let them take the crowd out of it.
2. Limit Delaney's production. Or don't let the three headed beast of Delaney, Allen and Hudson get on a roll. But, don't get so focused on them that you let the unknown shooters take over.
3. Win the rebounding battle. In the last few games, the Seminoles have lost the battle on the glass and have allowed too many second chance points.
4. Turnovers. For the last three games, the Seminoles TO% has been less than 20%. Keep it that way. Virginia Tech's success is directly related to their ability to create turnovers. No easy points. See #1.
Four Factors Comparrison:
The eFG% difference is going to be the key to the game.
Prediction: Seminoles 71 Hokies 68
Television: Sun Sports
Online Viewing: NolesTv
Tempo Free Stats: SCACCHOOPS.com