It’s the first game of college basketball season so of course FSU is starting with the traditional outclassed opponent to tune up for the season. In the past five years we’ve gone through doormats such as Manhattan, Nicholls State, Charleston Southern, George Washington, and the Florida Gators. This year it is....wait. What? Pittsburgh. Not the Pitt School for the Blind? The University of Pittsburg Green Bay? Nope. November is now ACC time.
Funny story. In a total coincidence the ACC has rolled out 20-game conference schedules to coincide with the roll out of the ACC Network (sorry, Comcast customers). Not a money grab at all! This move is universally hated by the coaches but they’re being directed by the conference to say they love it. Go ACC!
You’ll also be surprised to learn that 14 of 15 ACC teams have to open their season in a conference game, and the one team who doesn’t have to do this is Duke. Total coincidence! While FSU is playing a game which may determine their fate in March, Duke got a neutral site game where they made a ton of money, was great for recruiting, and their resume benefited regardless of if they actually won. Go ACC!
Players to watch
Remember how much fun it was last year watching freshmen Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowens help Pitt shoot more free throws against FSU than any team in 15 years? Hey, now they’re sophomores. Johnson was on the ACC All Rookie team, and led the Panthers with 15.5 ppg and 4.5 apg. MgGowens wasn’t too far behind at 11.5 ppg.
Luckily neither were great shooters (Johnson 35%, McGowens 33%). But both were good enough that they could have huge sophomore years. Pitt struggled offensively last season, but having a pair of really good sophomores to build around should help in year 2 of Jeff Capel’s rebuild.
They’re also relatively small on the interior, and gave up a staggering number of offensive rebounds last year. Let’s hope that hasn’t changed.
Player most likely to go Scott Wood
You’re gonna love Ryan Murphy. As a freshman at Charlotte he hit 40% of his 3s. He broke his foot near the end of the season and then spent a few weeks hanging out with Steph Curry. Not sure if that rubbed off. Then he spent his sophomore season at a JUCO in New Mexico, before arriving in Pitt. On their recent overseas trip he led the team in scoring and made half his 3s.
How to watch
ESPNU, 8 PM ET
Who will win?
Ken Pomeroy: FSU 60%
T-Rank: FSU 48%
Vegas has Florida State as a 4.5-point favorite, with an over/under of 140.5.
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