Michigan head coach John Beilein gave an interview this summer where he said that "it's great winning at home, but when you are winning away from home against great teams and against great odds, there is no better feeling." This sums up FSU's current opportunity perfectly. The Noles (4-0) routed the No. 10 team in the nation last night, and now turn their attention to No. 14 Michigan (3-1).
The challenge vs VCU was their press which can completely overwhelm teams. The challenge vs Michigan is very different. John Beilein is a master of basketball offense. His teams are almost always elite on that end of the floor, and last year's version was the No. 1 offense in the nation. Now they're replacing two first round draft picks out of their back court (Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.) which is the one advantage FSU will have. The replacement at point guard is high 4* recruit Derrick Walton, who is exceptionally talented, but also capable of looking like a freshman. (They also have former walk-on Spike Albrecht, who deserves a hat tip for understanding how to take advantage of his brief moment of fame). The other guards are more dangerous. Sophomores Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert both have great size (6-6) and they've combined to make 26-47 3s (55%). If they get hot, Michigan wins.
The Beilein offense doesn't just rely on great 3-point shooters, but it also relies on getting to the rim. Michigan might be the best team in the nation at avoiding the worst shot in basketball - the long 2-pointer. 6-6 Glenn Robinson is a very smooth and efficient forward, while 6-10 Jon Horford is a beast on the glass. The wildcard is 6-10 Mitch McGary, who has been limited by a bad back. He missed their first two games, but has averaged 18 minutes in the past two. McGary is raw power forward with boundless energy, and everyone who loves tough basketball players absolutely adores McGary. The kid is a beast, when healthy.
The key for FSU will finding Michigan's shooters in transition, and then executing quick switches and hedges to keep a hand in their faces. Michigan is an excellent rebounding team, and they defend without fouling, so the Noles will need to get into transition at every opportunity.
The game tips at 5pm and will be broadcast on ESPN2. I haven't seen a Vegas line yet, but Pomeroy has Michigan favored by 3.