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FSU vs Stetson Preview and Game Thread

Two games into the new season and it appears that this year's team is a lot like last year's team. Fans can expect an elite defensive scheme coupled with an offense which will go through mind numbing dry spells due to turnovers. In 140 possessions this year the Noles have turned it over 34 times (24.3%). Two years ago our turnover rate for the season was this exact number. Last year it was 23%. When FSU doesn't turn it over, the offense averages 1.43 points per possession. So cutting that 24.3% down to 20% would mean something in the neighborhood of 4.5 points a game, and is likely the difference between this team and a legit 3/4 seed in the Tourney. Is that going to happen? Probably not, but its early. Still, this team should be expected to make the NCAA Tournament, which is a testament to how far Leonard Hamilton has taken this program. In two games the Seminoles have taken care of business against decent competition.

Tonight Stetson comes to town in a no-win game for the Seminoles. Stetson isn't a good team, and even a win will hurt FSU's RPI. Give credit to Stetson that they've begun their season 2-0 with wins over two of the worst teams in Division 1 (Bethune Cookman and FAMU), and any chance the Hatters have of finishing with an RPI better than 250 rests on them beating bad teams. Tonight though - for the Hatters - will be a different story. In the past two seasons the Noles have beaten Stetson by the combined score of 177-101. Frankly, this isn't a game the Seminoles should be playing. It hurts FSU's Tournament resume. A loss would be an absolute disaster. And due to FSU's terrible season ticket practices, most of the lower bowl at the Donald L Tucker Center will be empty.

So, why watch? Well, good teams blow out bad teams. The Seminoles have an advantage at every position, so fans shouldn't be worried about the outcome (barring a meltdown) but rather should be evaluating the team against itself. The Noles should dominate on both ends of the floor, and if they don't then there are serious issues. Stetson has been limited to 0.88 points per possession (PPP) in their two wins. In layman's terms: their offense sucks. Florida State's goal should be 0.75 PPP allowed or less. Defensively, Stetson has been robust, though against bad offenses. They've allowed a minuscule 0.75 PPP. FSU has enough advantage that the goal should be 1.15 PPP or more.

The good news for Stetson is that have a promising 1st year head coach in Casey Alexander. The long time assistant at Belmont is looking to turn Stetson into Belmont South. It won't happen this year, but remember his name.

The game tips at 7 on ESPN3.