For 92 straight games Florida State has had Chris Singleton on the floor, but that all changes today when a broken foot will keep him out of uniform. Luckily the opponent is Wake Forest, a team which has both a poor offense (214th) and a terrible defense (270th). Their one ACC win came at home vs Virginia.
For more about the Wake Forest program I previewed them prior to our first matchup. And for the impact of losing Chris, see Life Without Chris Singleton.
Wake Forest (8-18, 1-10) may be the perfect team for FSU (18-7, 8-3) to play right now as the Noles should be able to handle them easily, but it’s not because Wake is over-matched physically like a Stetson or UNC Greensboro. Wake actually has a good amount of talented players, they’re just poorly coached, are learning a new system, and are dominated by youth. FSU will have to execute against a team with similar size and speed, and this should provide a decent barometer of what we can expect while Singleton is on the mend.
On February 1st, in Tallahassee, the Seminoles led Wake 31-19 at half and ended up winning 85-61 in one of Singleton’s worst offensive outings of the year. Defensively he shut down the most productive freshman in the ACC, Travis McKie. Five FSU players scored in double figures in that game, led by Deividas Dulkys’ 16. The Seminoles took a ridiculous 27 3-pointers, but have averaged a more manageable 17 in the games since. Florida State cannot afford to play like Duke who can utilize the outside shot to open up other areas of their offense, but need to attack the paint and get the defense collapsing. We simply don’t have the shooters to consistently knock down 3s against an extended defense.
Much of our gameplan will depend on how many minutes Terrance Shannon can contribute. If he can play 15+ minutes we will have enough flexibility to shuffle lineups that cause matchup problems at multiple spots. If he’s not ready we’ll be looking at far more 3-guard lineups, and if our frontline gets into foul trouble may have to go with a 4-guard lineup as we did to close out the Virginia game. Wake Forest is too mobile for us to be able to have one of Xavier Gibson or Jon Kreft in the game at the same time as Bernard James.
The game tips at 1 pm on Ray/Com. FSU opened a 10 point favorite in Vegas, while Pomeroy had FSU -12. Win or lose our RPI (51) will get worse after this game, but a loss would be devastating and drop us out of the current tournament picture.