The Florida State Seminoles (7-2) are looking to stretch their winning streak to four games. The Noles are in the middle of a stretch of games that they really can't afford to lose if they want to stay on track for the NCAA tournament. They've knocked off VCU, Southeastern Louisiana, and Mississippi State, and now need to handle Florida Atlantic and Charleston Southern.
FAU (2-8) is in rebuild mode. And they have a coach who can probably get it done. Michael Curry played 11 years in the NBA, was the head of the player's association, and spent a year as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons. Now he's in his 2nd year at FAU, and is looking to get them back to the tourney for the first time since 2002.
To start, he's brought in a bunch of high major transfers. Adonis Filer (Clemson), and Solomon Poole (Georgia Tech - former top 100 recruit) should be familiar to Florida State fans. He also has 7-footer Ronald Delph (Auburn). The best of the bunch is probably Frank Booker (Oklahoma) but he is sitting out this season per transfer rules. He also landed a top 150 recruit in CJ Turman, who had previously been committed to Tennessee.
Delph just became active following the semester, and so has played just two games. He had an impressive debut with 11 and 8, but then fouled out in just 13 minutes in his second game. Delph provides a good one-two combo with sophomore big man CJ Turman, who leads the team at 8.7 ppg and 5.6 rpg.
It's probably alarming to FAU fans that their leading scorer averages less than 9 points a game. Part of that is tempo (they're 323rd on offense), and part of that is just that they're not good. They don't shoot the ball well, and they don't get to the line.
If the Noles get back in transition, the Owls will have a tough time scoring.
On defense, the Owls are a little better. With an NBA coach on the sidelines it's no surprise that they focus on taking away 3s. Last year they were the best team in the nation at limiting looks from deep, and this year they're 15th. But FSU only scores 21% of their points from behind the arc (321st nationally) so it will be interesting to see if they collapse down a little bit more than normal, trying to force FSU to make shots in an unfamiliar environment.
Regardless of how the game is played, the Noles should win. Pomeroy gives FSU a 92% chance. It will probably be a lower scoring game that we're used to.
The game tips Saturday at 5 PM and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Florida (and affiliates). If you're in the area, lower bowl tickets are currently going for $6 on StubHub.