FSU is now 6-0 in what was their first major test this season. Ryan Reid played out of his mind, with 18 and 8. This was literally a total team effort, however, as Hamilton emptied the bench early and often.
In a game that was charecterized by frenzied defense and poor offense, Florida State's ability t get to the line made the difference.
- FT FSU 16-25, CINCI 8-17
- Turnovers: FSU 18, CINCI 19
- REBOUNDS FSU 41 (15/26) CINCI 38 (16/22)
- SHOOTING: FSU 19-50 (4-12), CINCI 18-54 (3-19)
Tonight the Noles travel to Sin City to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats in the semi-finals of the Global Sports Challenge Tournament, hosted by UNLV.
5-0 is a great way to start the season but Leonard Hamilton put is nicely when he said: "This team is by no means even close to reaching their potential. Overall, I think we accomplished our goal of trying to win these games and get our young people as much experience as possible."
Let's see what we've done thus far and break down the match up with our first big name opponent of the year.
Hamilton continues to say that "I'm pleased that we're 5-0. But I do have some concern that we have a tendency to have stretches in every game where we're not executing as well as I would like."
This is not surprising as we have a lot of new additions to the team and I am encouraged that Hamilton is recognizing and publicly admitting that execution is a problem. Poor execution leads to turnovers and that has caused us our greatest difficulty thus far.
Here are the numbers through 5 games this season.
Raw Efficiency : 102.4 (135) 92.3 ( 83)
Adj Efficiency : 90.9 (265) 92.0 ( 88)
Effective FG% : 49.6 (142) 44.3 ( 80)
Turnover Pct. : 23.2 (231) 21.5 (171)
Off. Rebound% : 32.0 (192) 31.8 (140)
Free Throw Rate: 43.3 ( 7) 29.8 ( 70)
3-Point FG% : 36.0 (121) 31.2 (114)
2-Point FG% : 47.7 (163) 42.5 ( 68)
Free Throw Pct.: 76.4 ( 37) 70.1 (203)
Block Pct. : 3.5 ( 14) 18.6 ( 10)
Steal Pct. : 9.6 (154) 13.1 ( 41)
3PA/FGA : 30.4 (221) 42.8 (329)
A/FGM : 56.0 (140) 50.9 (113)
A few things immediately stand out as representation of poor execution likely associated with an inexperienced team: eFG%, Turnover %, Defensive FT% and Off Rebound %. If we are not running our sets well, moving without the ball or anticipating well, we're more likely to turn the ball over. One of the difficulties of the Noles recent schedule is that they have had limited time to practice. They are currently on a 7 game 15 day road trip that only included 3 home games and sends them to Las Vegas and Chicago. Therefore, Leonard has had little time to correct his team's difficulties. I am, however, encouraged at how we are getting to the free throw line, suggesting that we're playing aggressively around the rim. Granted, we're not playing stellar competition and we haven't compared size wise with these teams. Western Illinois tallest starter was 6'5...Alabai, our center, is 7'1.
Our defense however, is already starting to show signs of a solid team that will make noise in ACC play this year. We force steals, our big men are on a blocking tear and we hold teams to a low shooting percentage (ignore the first half of the game against Costal Carolina when they couldn't miss). But look closely, and again, the signs of an inexperienced team emerge: teams are getting to the line too often, we don't defend the perimeter well and we're losing the rebound advantage despite our size advantage. As this teams starts to communicate better, flow better and get better spacing, these numbers will improve.
Where does this put us against Cincinnati, one of the great basketball stories in Div 1 history. The Bearcats are in rebuilding mode but are 4-0 thus far under Mark Cronin and this will be the first time they have left their home court.
Here are their likely starters:
Deonta Vaughn G 6-1 190 Jr.
Larry Davis G 6-3 195 So.
Mike Williams * F 6-7 240 Sr.
Rashad Bishop F 6-6 225 So.
Yancy gates F 6-9 260 Fr.
While they don't have a true center, this will be the biggest team we have faced this year. They also have the inexperience problems that we face.
Here are the numbers on Cincinnati:
Raw Efficiency : 120.4 ( 9) 77.0 ( 10)
Adj Efficiency : 99.7 (163) 78.3 ( 14)
Effective FG% : 56.6 ( 30) 37.1 ( 6)
Turnover Pct. : 24.2 (257) 22.7 (123)
Off. Rebound% : 57.5 ( 1) 34.6 (207)
Free Throw Rate: 17.6 (297) 29.2 ( 64)
3-Point FG% : 38.7 ( 56) 23.1 ( 16)
2-Point FG% : 55.8 ( 29) 37.9 ( 19)
Free Throw Pct.: 58.2 (312) 52.0 ( 3)
Block Pct. : 5.8 ( 73) 14.4 ( 32)
Steal Pct. : 9.6 (156) 10.1 (156)
3PA/FGA : 34.1 (148) 22.8 ( 9)
A/FGM : 58.2 (106) 49.2 ( 92)
Or do they face our similar inexperience? Their bench is primarily made up of sophomores who have playing experience. On our bench...freshman. 5 of our 12 players a true freshmen...add to that two sophomores and you can see why our execution isn't where it should be. Defensively, they are strong, holding their opponents to a relatively low shooting percentage. But they turn the ball over as many times as we do. They don't get to the line and when they do, they don't shoot well. However, look at the offensive rebounds. They crash the boards and prolong possessions. This with their excellent shooting percentage has allowed them to control their early competition.
This is the first team we have played that has shared any opponents. Lets compare how both teams did against Western Illinois an Coastal Carolina. We played CC first. They played Western Illinois first.
Cincinnati: W 74-46 (First four columns are offense, 2nd four are defense)
FSU: W 67 - 45
Cincinnati: W 82-56
FSU: W 82-70
I don't think these results should be surprising. I also think our margin of victory over Western Illinois is deceiving. We were in control the entire game and should have won by closer to two. Comparing how the teams did against similar competition: We turn the ball over more. We steal the ball more. They rebound better and we get to the line more. Cincinnati has a +17 rebound on its opponents so far this year. We're + 3.
Here's our starting line up for the night:
F Chris Singleton 11.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg
F Ryan Reid 8.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg
C Solomon Alabi 8.8 ppg, 1.4 bpg
G Jordan DeMercy 5.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg
G Toney Douglas 19.4 ppg, 2.8 spg
For those who haven't been paying attention, Singleton is starting his career at FSU with a bang and I can't wait to continue to watch his development. Douglas is playing as expected at a high level, carrying the scoring burden and continuing to defend extremely well.
This should be a great test for the Noles early in the season. We have had a few days off, so lets hope our execution on the offensive end has improved. I look for the Noles to win a close one, building the confidence of a young team. Even though Cincinnati may not be the team it was they are playing great and saying we beat the Bearcats will have a nice ring to it. Lets see if we continue to improve our TO% and OR%, which have all moved in the right direction since the beginning of the year. Don't look for this game to be a track meet as both teams will look to slow it down to limit their mistakes. It worked against Western Illinois. We have to be big up front and put our size to good use and not be lazy or sloppy. It will take effort from the beginning of each offensive and defensive set to prepare for rebounds. We must have good shot selection as well. Tossing up long shots in transition with no one available to rebound will be a terrible decision.
Go Noles! I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Doesn't look like this one will be on tv. However, the Northwestern game will be on ESPN2.
(I'm sorry for the formatting glitches...not so tech savy)