I’m sure scheduling is a very difficult task, especially at a school like Florida State that doesn’t sell enough tickets to dictate its schedule. With that said, this is a game that FSU shouldn’t be playing. And this isn’t a hindsight thing. On the day the out-of-conference schedule was released, I researched Southern Miss for about three minutes before writing this:
This game is probably a terrible idea. Southern Miss is going to be garbage again and will likely be the RPI anchor that FSU really doesn't need. They do return a decent player who missed almost all of last year with a broken foot, so that's hope they'll be better, I guess.
Assuming a win here, FSU’s expected RPI for the season (per RPI Forecast) is 40. If the ‘Noles didn’t play this game at all (or played a D2 opponent), that expected RPI would be 29. Play a decent Conference USA team instead of Southern Miss (say, Charlotte, who Pomeroy has ranked No. 186) and that expected RPI goes to 28.
But again, I’m not privy to how difficult it is to set up a schedule. I just know how much they matter.
Southern Miss (3-3) is bad. Two of their wins are against D2 foes, and one of those took double OT for the Golden Eagles to close out. Their lone D1 win is against Alabama A&M, which is probably the worst team in the nation.
Through no fault of his own, head coach Doc Sadler may have the toughest rebuild in America. Their former coach (Donnie Tyndall) has been barred from college coaching through 2026 because he paid players and obstructed the investigation. And he didn’t leave much talent behind.
Southern Miss’s defense is 351st nationally at generating steals (hey, that’s the worst!). If they wanted to make up for the lack of pressure by being a great shooting team, then that’s not working out too well as only four teams in the country have a worse 3-pt%.
They have the worst offense FSU will face this season, and their defense is only slightly better. They’re small. They’re not entirely healthy. And they struggle shooting the ball.
This should be a blowout, which is why Vegas opened with the Seminoles favored by 28.5.
But the Florida State players can’t worry about any of that stuff. They can only play their schedule. They need to focus, and they need to dominate on both ends of the court.
The game tips at 7 PM and will be broadcast on the ACC Digital Network via Watch ESPN.