FSU has opened the season with back-to-back convincing wins. Now they face a focus game. With a matchup against Terrance Shannon and No. 14 Virginia Commonwealth looming on Thursday, the Noles are facing a badly overmatched opponent in Tennessee Martin (1-3). But good teams need to be able to focus one game at a time (one possession at a time) and it will be a promising sign if FSU comes out locked-in and rolls the Skyhawks.
Typically, this is where I'd argue that this is a game that FSU shouldn't be playing. UT Martin is almost guaranteed to have a 250+ RPI at season's end, so just playing them does a little damage to FSU's RPI. But Tennessee Martin is Leonard Hamilton's alma mater, and if anything, Ham is loyal. If he can get his old school a nice payday, it's hard to fault him for that.
There are many players on the Skyhawks roster who could will this team to a win. Their best player is 6-7, 250 lb Myles Taylor, though he suffered a torn ACL at the end of last season and has played in only the most recent UT Martin game this year (20 points, 4 boards). He could give FSU trouble on the offensive glass.
The reality is that this game is more about FSU than it is about UT Martin. If FSU plays their game, they'll win. That's why the Noles are a 23 point favorite. In Ham's tenure at FSU he's never lost to a team ranked >300th by Ken Pomeroy (currently they are 333rd).
If you haven't had the chance to see FSU this season, you'll be impressed by the pace and attacking style. As predicted in the summer by TN, the Noles are pushing the ball in transition when possible, and spreading defenses in an attempt to get to the rim. Need proof?
FSU has also been chosen to be one of the few schools in the nation to honor Native American Heritage Month. FSU will be wearing special turquoise uniforms to honor the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The players are excited. "It’s a huge step for us mainly because big-time programs usually get alternate jerseys and something unique," senior center Kiel Turpin said. "The fact that they included us is really special to us."
The game tips at 2pm from the Tuck, and will be broadcast on ESPN3.