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No. 18 FSU basketball vs. Georgia Tech: Preview, Vegas line, how-to-watch, game thread

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Conference play is finally here, again

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Four years into Josh Pastner’s term in Atlanta, things aren’t going so well. Georgia Tech (6-6) has one good win on their resume (at NCSU) and appear headed for a 10th straight year without making the dance. The formula has been a borderline elite defense combined with a bad offense, and that is certainly the case again this year. They are 344th nationally in 3-pt%, and with point guard Jose Alvarado missing a bunch of time they’re 326th in turnover%. But their defense is tough to score on (21st in eFG%).

This was supposed to be the year that they could at least take a crack at the NIT, but a depleted roster derailed their out of conference play. But now everyone is back. Is it too late?

Players to watch

GT goes how point guard Jose Alvarado (6-0, 179) goes. Despite an ankle injury, he tried to play against Georgia (a 4-point loss), but Pastner later admitted that was a mistake. But now he’s been back for three games. He’s a typical New York City point guard in that he’s tough, physical, and tough to rattle. He’s not a good shooter, but he keeps the team organized.

Sophomore Michael Devoe (6-5, 193) has carried the scoring load (17.8 ppg). The lefty has made 41% of his 3s and is adept at getting to the line.

USC transfer Jordan Usher (6-7, 220) had to sit the first eight games per NCAA transfer rules (whatever those are). He gives them some size on the wing and another double-digit scorer.

Georgia Tech has some bigs who can get it done. Texas transfer James Banks (6-10, 250) is an athletic presence in the middle, and Moses Wright (6-9, 230) has been a development project where the dividends are beginning to pay off.

Will GT actually play fast?

I doubt it. But after three years of a crawling offense, the Yellow Jackets are actually in the top-70 this year in offensive tempo. But much of that was to cover for a lack of Alvarado in the half court, and I would expect this to be a sub 70-possession game.

Who will win

Ken Pomeroy FSU 86%

Vegas line FSU -11

How to watch

High noon on ESPNU from the Tuck