clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

FSU basketball hosts No. 12 Louisville

Florida State’s 6th straight game vs a ranked opponent

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Back when Florida State had the best defense in the nation, the impressive thing was the different looks they could throw at an opponent. They could go from man-to-man into any number of zone looks. They’d switch screens. They’d hedge. They’d trap. They’d occasionally change defenses during the possession. It was difficult to game plan against because the Seminoles always had another option.

Watching this Louisville team looks frighteningly similar.

They’re more of a press team than FSU ever was, but they can speed you up or slow you down. They’ll zone. They’ll trap. They’ve got a variety of options, and they might be the best defense in the nation.

The Cardinals (16-3, 4-2) are 2nd in the nation at blocking shots. They’re 6th in defensive eFG%. They force a ton of turnovers. And they’ve done this against one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Florida State will be their 9th opponent ranked in Pomeroy’s top 30.

This should be the 7th straight year that Louisville has had a national top-5 defense.

Their weakness, as if often the case with Rick Pitino’s teams, is on the other end of the floor.

Currently they have the 42nd most efficient offense in the nation. That’s not terrible, but when you have five top-50 recruits on the roster (and only one a freshman) then you should really be better.

Their problem is that they are not a good shooting team. They are just 191st in eFG%. They make up for this by taking care of the ball and being an excellent offensive rebounding team, but a poor shooting night can really drag their offense down.

Sophomore Donovan Mitchell leads the team at 13.8 points per game. The 6-3 guard is a career 30% 3-pt shooter who for some reason attempts six per game. He’s best in transition, attacking downhill.

Mitchell has now stepped in to help fill the void at point guard, as sophomore Quentin Snider is out with an injury. If you’re hoping this will hurt Louisville, in their first game without Snider they played what may have been their most complete game of the season in a 92-60 curb stomping of Clemson. Still, this should affect them, especially on short rest. Senior David Levitch (their one knock down shooter) will have to play more minutes.

Their other double-digit scorer is 6-6 sophomore wing Deng Adel. The uber athletic Australian looks like an NBA player, and though he’s just a 32% 3-point shooter he has random games where he can’t miss.

The rest of the starters should be 6-9 junior Jaylen Johnson (8.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg), 6-6 freshman VJ King (6.6 ppg), and 7-0 junior Anas Mahmoud (6.5 ppg, 8th nationally in block%).

The game tips at 2 PM from the Tuck and will be broadcast on ESPN. FSU opened as a 1-point favorite.