The Princeton Tigers (6-7) come to Tallahassee in the middle of a long 12-game Division I road trip. Though their record isn't impressive, this isn't a team to be taken lightly. They have wins over Buffalo (a legit top-100 team) and at Rutgers (the same place UF just lost), have won four of six, and have only lost two games all season by double-digit margins. They played at NC State and lost by two.
The Tigers have a new coach - Mitch Henderson - but an old style. Henderson played at Princeton under coach Bill Carmody, and then was his assistant for eleven seasons. Princeton slows the game down (302nd in tempo), attempts 39% of their shots from beyond the arc, and collapses the interior on defense forcing teams to beat them over the top.
This will be an intriguing test for Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles (8-4). Hamilton suggested after the UF game that - in an attempted fix for the offense - he was going to move away from an NBA sized lineup and start giving more minutes to the guards. Terry Whisnant has earned them by making 9-20 3s after beginning the season 1-10. And Ian Miller is back. It took him just a few possessions versus Florida to show one thing that FSU has been missing: a guard who can break defenses down off the dribble. The chemistry between FSU big men is poor, so more 3-guard lineups should lead to fewer turnovers.
This game doesn't match my criteria for a must-win, but FSU really needs to get through their non-conference schedule without further damage. All of the Seminole losses have been to teams with projected top-50 RPIs, but dropping one to Princeton or Auburn would change that. FSU's projected RPI is 39, and they're 33rd in the Pomeroys.
The game tips from the Tucker Center at 7pm and will be broadcast on ESPN3. Vegas and Ken Pomeroy both have FSU -12.