Go ahead and turn the shot clock off, because we’re not going to need it.
In the past 12 seasons, Duggar Baucom’s teams at VMI and now The Citadel (3-2) have been 1st or 2nd nationally in tempo 10 times. After two years of watching the opponents try and slow FSU down, now a team comes that will run with them. If the winner isn’t in triple digits, something weird happened.
It’s not easy to recruit at military academies, so Coach Baucom has installed a style that the fans will love. Attendance is up. The players have fun. And they might not make the dance, but they’ll score a lot of points.
They average 34 3-point attempts a game. They average 14.0 steals. They play 13 guys. This is going to be a hectic, up and down game against a team that FSU won’t be able to wear out. In fact, it may be the opposite. In stretches, Florida State might have to slow things down.
Still, Florida State has a tremendous size and skill advantage, and should win easily.
Sophomore Preston Parks leads the way. He’s 6-1, and is the reigning Southern Conference Freshman of the Year. Last season he led the conference in scoring, and was the first freshman to do that in the SoCon since some guy named Steph Curry.
This year he’s averaging a team high 14.8 ppg, and defensively he generates a steal on nearly 4% of possessions.
The other players in double figures are 6-0 freshman Tariq Simmons (13.8 ppg), and 6-1 junior Matt Frierson (10.4 ppg). Simmons has high major talent, but no one thought he would qualify, and the coaches refer to Frierson as their “feild goal kicker” because he is job is to enter the game and knock down 3s.
This won’t be a resume builder for Florida State (and would be a disaster of a loss), but it will be fun.
The game tips tonight at 8 PM from the Tuck, and will be streamed live on Watch ESPN.