When I looked at the schedule I was hoping that FSU (1-1) could squeeze three wins out of the first four games. Now, to accomplish that, they need to go to Connecticut and sweep two talented, athletic, teams.
First up is Providence (3-0), the defending Big East champion. They're led by 6-6 senior LaDontae Henton who is one of the most dynamic players FSU will face this season. Out of Lansing, Michigan, he fits the stereotype of players from that area - tough, athletic, and versatile. He averaged 14 points and 7.9 rebounds last season, and has bumped his scoring average to 18.3 in the early going this year. The lefty has a good stroke and he is probably the best pound-for-pound rebounder in the Big East.
Henton, who is now the man, didn't have to play that role last year because of All Everything point guard Bryce Cotton. But Cotton graduated, and now the point guard duties fall to consensus 5* Kris Dunn, a 3rd-year sophomore who has battled injuries. He had 13 assists in his first ever college game, but that was two years ago. Now he's healthy, and he's coming off his 2nd career 13 assist game on Thursday night in a blowout over Navy. An elite athlete, Dunn is also has nine steals in three games.
Two other players to watch are 6-9 Tyler Harris (a NCSU transfer, and another lefty), and 6-8 6th man Ben Bentil. Harris is a rangy scorer who hasn't quite put it all together yet, though he appears on the verge averaging 15 points this season. Bentil , a freshman, is a powerful player with an NBA body, and is coming off the best game of his career - 18 points and 6 boards vs Navy.
Beyond those four they have multiple capable players, including several who were consensus top 100 recruits, as well as a big man Seminole fans should recognize: 7-0 center Carson Desrosiers, a Wake transfer, mans the middle.
Ed Cooley's teams make their money on the offensive boards. This will be a huge rebounding test for the Noles. The Friars are clearing the boards on both ends of the floor this year (top 40 offensive and defensive rebounding). While FSU has been doing a decent job on the defensive rebounding end, offensive rebounding is an area that has been a disappointment in the first two games for FSU.
Another area of concern has been FSU's 3-pt shooting. After leading the ACC in 3pt% last year, the Noles have made just 26% of their attempts through the first two games. It's time to knock down some shots.
The game tips at 2:30 PM Saturday as part of the Naismith Hall of Fame Classic. It will be played in the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Pomeroy has Providence favored by 1 point. It will be broadcast on ESPN3.