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FSU basketball takes on Valdosta State in second exhibition—preview and game thread

The regular season tips November 10th

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023-24 college basketball regular season opens tomorrow for a number of teams, but FSU will get in one more scrimmage before that happens. Florida State will face the Division II Valdosta State Blazers today in the Tucker Center. Tip-off is set for 4:00pm with game entry and parking both free of charge.

With the Seminoles first real game not coming until Friday, and with Leonard Hamilton’s squad working in so many new faces, getting in as much game-like practice as possible makes sense. Last Sunday the ‘Noles used a late-game surge to pull away from Flagler College 90-74. VCU transfer Jamir Watkins showed off his well-rounded game, including nabbing 5 steals, and fans will be looking to see if he can bring that energy and impact two games in a row.

Valdosta State is a solid D2 squad, winning 18 games last year while competing in the Gulf South Conference. While the Blazers return two double-digit scorers from last year’s team, coach Mike Helfer is in a similar position as Coach Ham, breaking in seven new guys. One of them is West Florida transfer LaTrell Tate, who averaged over 16 points a game last season while shooting 44% from deep on 127 attempts. Considering the number of wide open looks Flagler got on the perimeter, the Seminoles would be wise to spot Tate early in every possession.

Aside from timely defensive rotations and ball denial, here’s a few more things I’ll be looking for in this final tune-up:

  • Does Chandler Jackson play?
  • How frequently can FSU push pace after misses AND makes? This is something specifically mentioned by Hamilton after last week’s game.
  • How comfortable does blue-chip freshman Taylor Bol Bowen look after another week of practice?
  • Who besides Watkins and Cam Fletcher can get their hands on deflections?
  • What role is Cam Corhen gearing up for this season?

Also, if you’ve been caught up in the excitement on the gridiron and are looking for a more in-depth breakdown of the upcoming season, check out the hoops season preview podcast Michael Rogner and I dropped earlier this week.

This is nearly an hour’s worth of discussion on FSU’s roster, player development, the schedule and the ACC, recruiting updates, and even a ‘Noles in the NBA update (spoiler alert, Devin Vassell got a massive bag). Oh and we are even testing out a new name—feedback welcome!

Can’t watch or listen to the game today? Join the comment thread where I’ll be giving updates from the Tucker Center.