FSU vs Charleston Southern, 6 PM, ESPN3
Tonight's game is a study in contrasting styles. Charleston Southern (3-1) has taken over half their shots from beyond the arc. They are 3rd in the nation (out of 351 D1 teams) in percentage of shots taken from three (50.3%), and this is no surprise as Barclay Radebaugh's clubs have done this for a few seasons now. They have arguably the quickest player in college basketball in 5-8 Saah Nimley, and they use him to create havoc while other shooters try to find holes in which to spot up.
Meanwhile, Florida State has taken the 3rd fewest percentage of 3s in the nation. This hasn't completely been by choice, however, but rather a necessity with Devon Bookert and Aaron Thomas missing in action. With those two out of the lineup UMass and then The Citadel both packed their defense in tight and dared FSU to shoot. It worked against UMass, but freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes stepped up vs The Citadel and knocked down 5-5 wide open 3s (and scoring the most by an FSU freshman since 1995, despite what Seminoles.com says).
With both Aaron Thomas and Devon Bookert still out, what will Charleston Southern do?
For my money, I'd pack the defense again and force FSU to score over the top. XRM is the only player who has proven he can knock down shots, and if you extend too far then FSU can kill you by getting to the rim. Florida State has to counter by scoring in transition, but that requires defensive stops, which is something sorely lacking in the early season.
In addition to Nimley - who is taking eight 3s a game and averaging 14.5 pts - the players to watch are 6-7 senior Will Saunders, who takes seven 3s a game and scores 15.0 points, and Nimley's running mate, 6-2 senior Arlon Harper, who has made 46% of his 3s.
The game tips at 6pm from the Tuck and will be broadcast on ESPN3. Pomeroy has the Noles favored by 10, but his lines do not account for injuries.