The Seminoles have a busy week. Tonight is the first of three games that Florida State will play in three weeks. Where Florida State ends up in the conference standings is entirely in their control. Win two of the next three games and Florida State will finish with a 10-6 record and is guaranteed to be no less than 5th seed in the ACC. With wins over Clemson and Wake Forest, Florida State will finish third in the conference. A win over Clemson is important for a variety of reasons: split the season series, keep Clemson out of the running for third, it looks good on the tournament resume. Florida State look to defend home court tonight against the Clemson Tigers and move to 9-5 in the ACC.
Game Time: 5:30pm EST
Opponent's Site: Shaking the Southland
Live Stats: scacchoops.com
The last time that the Seminoles and Tigers matched up, Florida State had difficulty getting any shot to fall. In the first half, they shot a terrible 25% from the floor. Unfortunately, it only got marginally better in the second half, resulting in a 37.9% FG% for the game. Despite their troubles from the floor, the Seminoles only lost by ten points on the road. They were down by as much as 15 in the second half and kept fighting to get back in the game. Since that game, Florida State has won three games, holding their opponents to an average of 54.4 points per game. Here was the Four Factors Summary of the last match up:
Don't expect it to look like this tonight. The defense has been playing at an elite level since the second half of the Boston College game.
After the Florida State game, Clemson has gone 2-1, with wins over Miami and Virginia, both of those games were at Little John Stadium. On February 24th, they traveled to College Park and lost to Maryland 88-79. The Tigers played a good game that night but ran into a buzz saw in Maryland. The Terrapins had an eFG% of 61% that night. Hard to beat anyone that shoots that well on a given night.
Clemson currently sits at 17 in the Pomeroy rankings, two spots behind the Seminoles. They have an offensive rating of 110.0 (54th in the nation) and a defensive efficiency of 87.1 (12th in the nation). The Tigers are still playing their pressure man to man defense, trapping as much as possible, trying to push the pace. The higher the pace, the better the defense gets, meaning they are forcing turnovers and getting out in transition. Currently, Clemson is forcing turnovers on 24.8% of their opponents possessions, ranking 9th in the nation. However, they are still prone to turnovers as well, turning the ball over on 21% of possessions. 11.1% of their possessions result in steals. This plays directly into the hands of the Seminoles who will be looking to slow the pace, force turnovers and get Clemson into a half court game.
F #15 David Potter 6'6 215lbs Senior 7.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg
F #35 Trevor Booker 6'7 240lbs Senior 15.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg
F #45 Jerai Grant 6'8 220lbs Junior 7.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg
G #2 Demontez Stitt 6'2 175lbs Junior 10.8 ppg, 3.3 apg
G #5 Tanner Smith 6'5 220lbs Sophomore 9.1 ppg, 2.4 apg
F #31 Chris Singleton 6'9 227lbs Sophomore 11.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg
F #42 Ryan Reid 6'8 237lbs Senior 7.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg
C #32 Solomon Alabi 7'1 251lbs Sophomore 12.0 ppg, 2.4 bpg
G #21 Michael Snaer 6'5 200lbs Freshman 8.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg
G #22 Derwin Kitchen 6'4 198lbs Junior 8.8 ppg, 4.0 apg
This is the same lineup that the Tigers played against the Seminoles in the last matchup. In that game, David Potter led the way with 19 points, going 4-5 from beyond the arc. Trevor Booker had 13 points in 27 minutes with only four rebounds. Andre Young came off the bench, scoring 19 points, going 3-7 from beyond the arc. As you can see, Clemson burned the Seminoles from beyond the arc.
Once again, the Seminoles will start Freshman Michael Snaer. There is no reason that he should not be in the starting lineup at this point. He has been playing outstanding defense and is contributing nicely on offense. Deividas Dulkys appears to be coming out of his shooting slump.
Even with his recent improvement, he makes a more significant impact coming off the bench rather than starting. It's a nice change of pace when Loucks and Dulkys coming off the bench. Xavier Gibson has also been playing better as of late, showing good concentration and running the floor well in transition. He is also showing his athleticism on a regular basis with his baseline move that he has shown in the last few games.
Four Factors Evaluation:
Keys to the Game:
1. Frustrate Clemson. Florida State needs to continue demonstrate its defensive presence. The North Carolina game was outstanding. The Seminoles showed a variety of different looks, including a number of different zones. Force Clemson out of their comfort zone and play half court basketball.
2. Dominate the Front Court. Alabi, Singleton, Reid, Gibson need to have a good game as a unit. In the past few games, Singleton has really played well, limiting his turnovers. The Seminoles need to prevent the easy putbacks for Clemson. Don't allow the Tigers to hang around because of cheap points. Make them earn it.
3. Protect the Ball. Be patient against the trap. The Seminoles have significantly improved their ability to break the press and have decreased their turnovers in the last few games. Keep that pattern going.
4. Absorb the First Few Punches. Clemson needs this game, badly, to stay in the ACC race. Winning the game gives Clemson the tie breaker with the Noles for the season. They are going to come out swinging and try to get Florida State out of its comfort zone. The Seminoles need to settle in early, weather the storm, and get not get into foul trouble or frustrated early.
Prediction: Florida State 68 Clemson 61
Game Time: 5:30pm EST
Opponent's Site: Shakin The Southland
Live Stats: scacchoops.com
As it is getting close to Tournament time, it's time to start talking tournament resumes. Below is a break down of the Seminoles' schedule. There are some very nice numbers here and some that aren't quite as helpful. The Noles are currently in a good position to make the tournament. This simply serves as a reference for conversation with your friends who might not believe the Seminoles' success.
Random Fact From Seminoles.com
FLORIDA STATE IN THE ACC / LAST 5 YEARS
Florida State is tied as the third winningest team in the ACC (in ACC regular season and tournament games) since the beginning of the 2005-06 season. The Seminoles have won at least seven ACC games in each of the last five seasons, at least eight games three times (including this season) and at least nine games twice (including 10 during the 2008-09 season).