There were years when I begged for a tougher non-conference schedule. Now we have it, and I want the old schedules back. The Noles, after losing their leader in Aaron Thomas, need some easy wins to build their confidence. But the easy wins aren't coming. Tonight FSU hosts North Florida (6-4), a team that thrives on the 3-point lottery. Two games ago they went into Purdue - a middle range Big Ten team - and knocked them off in front of 11,000 fans.
UNF takes 44% of their shots from beyond the arc. They have a player - junior Trent Mackey - who has attempted 45 field goals, and 44 of them have been 3s. They have one player over 6-8. It's going to be 40 minutes of high ball screens, which is something the Seminole defense has struggled to defend.
Their leading scorer is sophomore Dallas Moore. The 6-1 guard out of St. Pete averages 17.2 per game and has made 49% of his 3s. Another sophomore - 6-8 Chris Davenport - averages 11.0 points and 6.7 rebounds. He grabs 25% of the defensive boards, which is elite, and much needed for the Ospreys. As a small team they can struggle to keep opponents off of the offensive glass. In fact, that may be the theme for the night. Does FSU go small so that they can better cover the perimeter screens, or do they play bigger lineups in hopes of cashing in on the offensive end?
One thing the FSU players will be happy to see is that UNF isn't afraid to run. This game should have 70-80 possessions, which is where the Noles are most comfortable.
The game tips at 7pm from the Tuck and will be broadcast regionally on Fox Sports Florida, as well as ESPN3. Pomeroy has the Noles as 7-point favorites.