Ah, the senior day tradition at FSU - what pageantry. Students are on break. The ones in Tally will arrive late. And one of the greatest Noles to ever wear the uniform will be announced for the final time in front of a few thousand fans.
This is it for the seniors. This is Michael Snaer's 131st game, which ties him for the 2nd most ever at FSU. The other seniors are walk ons Joey Moreau and Rafael Portuondo. They'll get their moment today in the pregame, and then Snaer will go through one of the most difficult transitions of his career - he'll have to put aside all the emotion of the moment and go play basketball.
NC State is in town, and they're playing for a first round bye in the ACC Tournament. FSU did them a favor by knocking off Virginia, and they now control their own destiny. FSU is playing for pride. And a lot of players who have only known Snaer for one year are trying to send him out a winner.
When these two teams met in Raleigh it was a replay of the season lowlight reel. NC State shot, missed, and then grabbed their own rebound. Again and again and again. Richard Howell grabbed 8 offensive boards. CJ Leslie grabbed 6. The team had 21 offensive boards which was the same number of total rebounds the Noles had. I don't need to delve into fancy stats to show you that FSU cannot win this game if it plays out in the same fashion. NC State's high powered offense will pick FSU apart if the Noles keep surrendering extra possessions.
If there's a bright side it is that FSU's offense has found some identity since Devon Bookert, Michael Ojo and Aaron Thomas were inserted into the starting lineup. After averaging 0.93 points per possession in their first 10 ACC games, they've averaged 1.03 since the switch. And that offense will have to be clicking to keep pace with NC State. Only 4 times in 17 conference games has the Wolfpack been held below a point per possession.
The NCSU defense doesn't do a good job pressuring the ball or defending the glass. FSU needs to spread them out, attack the gaps, and knock down 3s. They also need to find opportunities to run.
If the offense can perform, then FSU could have a chance. Which means the game would fall to the defense. The Noles did a great job pinching the gaps vs Virginia, but they did this by having Michael Snaer play 10 feet off of Jontel Evans. They won't have that luxury against State.
FSU fans know NCSU as the Scott Wood show, but in reality the Wolfpack don't take many 3s at all. Only six teams in the country attempt fewer. Rather, they score in transition, and they score in the post. Lorenzo Brown and Rodney Purvis are both excellent off the bounce, and big man Richard Howell is in contention for ACC Player of the Year.
If FSU plays well, then this game will have high entertainment value. So show up, and show up early.
The game tips at 2pm from the Don and will be broadcast on ESPN2. NC State is a 4-point favorite in Vegas and Pomeroy has NCSU -5.