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FSU basketball tips off ACC play vs Wake Forest

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Welcome to the grind

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at NC-Greensboro Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 20 Florida State Seminoles (12-1) did what they needed to do in out-of-conference play. They had no bad losses, and a signature win over Florida.

But now the season turns to an entirely differently level as FSU enters conference play.

What is likely to be a rocky road begins this afternoon with a 5 PM tip against a Wake Forest (9-3) team coming into their own.

The Demon Deacons didn’t grab any great wins in ooc play, but their losses were all to good teams and away from home. With 9 of 13 scholarship players in their first or second year at Wake Forest, this is officially Danny Manning’s team.

They’re led by sophomore John Collins, who was somewhat of an afterthought in their 2015 recruiting class. The 3* recruit, who surprised many by not committing to Miami, chose Wake Forest because of head coach Danny Manning. And now he’s averaging a double-double, which is something that event the great Manning never did at Kansas. Collins enters today’s game with six double-doubles in the past seven games, and has posted 17.3 ppg and 10.4 rpg on the year. At 6-10, he plays center in Wake’s system, and his mobility gives teams fits. He also might be the best rebounder in the nation. He’s pushed past Doral Moore, a highly regarded top-75 prospect (and starting center on Christ Koumadje’s high school team), on the depth chart.

Fellow sophomore Bryant Crawford scores 14.3 per game, and has been very efficient despite being just an average shooter. He’s complemented in the backcourt by sophomore Charlotte transfer Keyshawn Woods. Woods, averaging 13.0 per game, is a 48% 3-point shooter for his career. They also have 6-10 Dinos Mitoglou, who loves to step out and knock down the three (36% for his career).

All of this adds up to a borderline elite offense, which is 19th in the nation. The shoot the ball well and do a solid job cleaning up their own misses.

But it’s their defense which has kept them from breaking through. They’re just 108th nationally, which puts them 12th in the ACC. They’ve been a bit soft in the middle, which is where the ‘Noles will need to take advantage.

Wake runs at a decent tempo, so it should be an entertaining game. The game tips at 5 PM from the Tuck and will be broadcast on ESPN2. FSU opened as a 7-point favorite.