Florida State has managed to go a whole basketball season and only drop 5 games. The most recent of those games came at the hands of a 15 loss Clemson team; however, the Tigers are better than their record suggests. They have managed to beat 3 of the top 4 ACC teams and have a real talent for getting hot at the right times. The Tigers are looking to double up on some of the big dogs in the conference so they can punch their ticket to the big dance. The ‘Noles are looking for revenge.
A lot of Clemson’s success against Florida State came from their focus on transition opportunities. FSU was often slow to get back on the defensive side of the ball after missed shots. This allowed Clemson to get a lot of easy baskets down the stretch:
In the half court Clemson found a lot of success slipping their ball screens. This means their big man acts like he is going to set a screen but then quickly cuts to the basket. Slipping can confuse switching responsibilities and help offensive players get an advantage:
In order to stop the easy points in the paint FSU helped more aggressively on the slip. This freed up the ball handler for drives:
And it freed up shots on the perimeter:
If you go back and watch any of FSU’s losses this year you will begin to see a trend. Teams with quick guards find a lot of success getting into the lane by getting a big switched on to them on the perimeter. The slower footed big men easily fall a step behind and FSU has a difficult time helping because of their denial principals or they over help and abandon their player on the three-point line:
Ultimately none of these things should be surprising to FSU fans. Quicker teams that are not afraid to shoot the three are generally a bad matchup fort the ‘Noles. However if they buckle down and play solid defense this game should be a minor road block on their way to competing for an ACC tournament title.