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Preview and Game Thread: N.C State Wolfpack vs Florida State Seminoles, 7pm EST

Tonight, the Seminoles look to recover from their 77-68 loss against Maryland when they take on the N.C. State Wolfpack at the Tucker Center. Despite the loss, the Seminoles did not drop out of the top 25 and are currently ranked 25th in both of the major polls. Take a look inside for the rest of the preview.




Game Time: 7pm EST

Television: Sun Sports

Opponent's Blog: Backing the Pack (Once again, another outstanding site, take the time to check it out)

Florida State's loss to Maryland was a frustrating loss for Seminoles fans as the Terrapins drained one three point shot after another. Interestingly enough, Florida State played a good game. Clearly, there were stretches that should have been better, resulting in the undesirable stair case scoring pattern on the Game Flow Chart.

Upon further inspection of the stat sheet, the most significant thing that jumps out was Maryland's three point shooting percentage.Florida State held Maryland to less than their season scoring average, less than their season shooting percentage, less assists, less steals. Maryland shot a terrible 52.9% from the FT line. They pull down one more board than usual and had one more turnover. Unfortunately, they shot lights out from behind the three point line. They typically shoot 37.5% from beyond the arc. On Sunday night, they shot 62.5%. To make the point even stronger: Maryland typically scores 60% of its points from inside the arc; they only scored 49% of their points from inside the three point line. Their 3 point scoring percentage increased from 21.8% to 39%. Uncharacteristic performance.

Florida State did score four points less than usual, but keep in mind they have been putting up crazy points against weaker opponents. High 60's is likely what to expect out of this offense. They shot better from the free throw line and only shot marginally less from floor. They also had significantly less turnovers and less rebounds. All in all, it wasn't a terrible night for the Florida State offense. One could say the offense was characteristic. It's never fun to lose a conference game and Florida State must make up for this in the coming days, particularly with the tight race that will occur in the conference this year. But, after two conference road games, the Seminoles are 1-1 and look forward to having three games at home, including a rematch with Georgia Tech.

The Wolfpack enter the Tucker Center with an 11-5 record and already have two losses in the ACC. NC State currently ranks 90th overall in the Pomeroy rankings with the 98th and 99th offense and defense respectively. Their important out of conference wins included Marquette on the road and Auburn at a neutral site. Their three out of conference losses were to Northwestern, Arizona and Florida. The Florida game was an overtime heart breaker and they have a brutal stretch of ACC games coming in the next three weeks: @FSU, Clemson, Duke, @Maryland and then home against North Carolina.

Here is N.C State's likely starting lineup:

F #15 Scott Wood 6'7 170lbs Freshman
F #23 Tracy Smith 6'8 247lbs Junior
F #31 Dennis Horner 6'9 226lbs Senior
G #10 Javier Gonzalez 5'11 175lbs Junior
G #21 C.J. Williams 6'6 218lbs Sophomore

This team is loaded...with freshman. Five to be exact. Sound familiar? NC State is one of the least experienced teams in the country, but they also happen to be one of the largest. Don't let Javier Gonzalez's 5'11 height fool you, the rest of the starters are 6'6 and up. They have a 7'0 freshman sitting on the bench and, like the Seminoles, their bench is big.

The Wolfpack do a number of things well, more so on defense than offense. In general, the shoot the ball well with an eFG% of 51.7% while holding their opponents to 44.6%. They do a reasonable job on the offensive boards but less so on the defensive glass. Despite their length, they could do better on the defensive glass with a opponents pulling down 34% of their rebounds. This could likely result from the pressure man to man defense. Interestingly enough, NC State's opponents score almost 60% of their points inside the arc.

The major contributors on the Wolfpack are Tracy Smith and Javier Gonzalez. Smith works the glas well and gets t the line often, averaging 5.9 fouls per 40 minutes of game play. He is also a shot blocker with a block% of 3.4%. Smith is their distributor with an ARate of 35.7, which is 24th in the nation. Both he and Scott Wood like to shot it from beyond the arc. Smith is shooting 37% from deep and Wood is shooting 34%.

The Seminoles will once again go with Kitchen, Dulkys, Singleton, Reid and Alabi.

Keys to the Game:

1. Put Maryland behind you. This young team needs to move on and what better remedy than a conference win at home.

2. Weather the storm. NC State is going to come into the Tucker swinging. They would like nothing better than to beat a ranked opponent.

3. Shoot better from beyond the arc. Get better looks and take care of business.

4. Protect the big man. Alabi can not get into foul trouble. This is a different team without him.

Prediction: Seminoles 70 NC State 60

Game Time: 7pm EST

Television: Sun Sports