Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
FSU travels to Charlotte for their first true road game.
After Monday's disappointing offensive showing against ULM, senior Michael Snaer (who sat out due to a disciplinary issue) and junior Okaro White had a lengthy and private heart-to-heart. Following that conversation both players have stated that it's time for them to be more aggressive. The young guys are playing like spectators far too often, and the vets need to take over.
Whether or not that occurs remains to be seen, but at least the team leaders are talking the talk, which is a good sign.
This mentality could lead to bad shots, but a bad shot is preferable to a turnover. At least with bad shots good things can still happen. It could go in. The ref could whistle a foul. Or the team, which is grabbing 35.3% of their own misses, could get an offensive rebound.
That philosophy will be on display this afternoon against a very good Charlotte team (11-1). They're coached by Alan Major, who comes out of the deep and impressive Gene Keady coaching tree. He's also worked for Bob Thomason, Bruce Weber and nine years for Thad Matta. All of those coaches emphasize defense first, and Major is no different.
The 49ers have given up more than a point per possession just twice in eleven games. And they do it with a philosophy which FSU fans are familiar with. They sell out to take away the two. They stop penetration. They double the post. They dig down on the weak side deeper than most teams. Teams have made fewer than 41% of their 2s against Charlotte, which is 20th nationally. The trade off is that they surrender a lot of 3s and live and die by the 3-point lottery. In their lone loss (against Miami) the Hurricanes made 47% from the arc.
The Noles need to take the open three when it's there, but still try and establish the post. But it absolutely cannot become a black hole. When the ball goes inside FSU needs to execute at a very fast pace. Otherwise we'll be looking at a bunch of turnovers.
On defense, FSU just needs to keep making small improvements. Lack of ball pressure has been the most consistent issue all year, and having Michael Snaer back should at least improve that. Charlotte is a horrible 3-point shooting team, but the coach recognizes this and they attempt fewer than 332 Division I teams. Rather, they pound everything inside and crash the boards.
The player to watch is 6-9 senior Chris Braswell. He leads the team in scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg). He also takes almost 30% of the shots when he's on the floor. 6-7 freshman Willie Clayton is the 3rd best offensive rebounder in the nation, so the Noles are going to have to find him and get a body on him. The most likely player to burn FSU from the arc is 5-11 freshman Denzel Ingram, who has made 35.3% of his attempts.
This is a homecoming game for Ian Miller (Charlotte), Montay Brandon (Greensboro), Terry Whisnant (Cherryville), and Joell Hopkins (Durham). Unfortunately, Miller won't play in front of his hometown crowd.
The game is being played at Time Warner Cable Arena, which isn't the 49ers home floor, but the large crowd will still be decidedly pro-Charlotte.
The game tips at 2 pm and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. Vegas and Pomeroy are mixed on this one. Vegas has FSU as a one point favorite, and Pomeroy has FSU as a one point underdog.