Welcome to the 1st edition of the ACC-SEC Challenge. The bad guys took a 4-3 lead on Tuesday night, and the ‘Noles wrap up in what could be the deciding game.
1. Is Georgia good? Who knows? On the plus side of the register they’ve beaten Wake Forest and Winthrop, who are both not terrible. On the negative side, they have three losses, though all to teams likely better than FSU (Oregon, Providence, Miami). So, are they good? Come find out! Unfortunately, this is part of the ACC-SEC Challenge, and even when the Noles were running the ACC they got bad tip times for these types of events, and tonight is no different. It tips 9:15 at the Tuck! Drink your coffee!
2. The Bulldogs do have Mike White, who typically would be in the negative column, at least based on being owned by Ham while he was at UF. But he had tried to reinvent himself in Gainesville. At Louisiana Tech he cut his teeth with an up-tempo, pressure defense, and a YOLO 3 philosophy. Then, for the Gators, he slowed things down and tried to exert control. Now, he’s leaning back into his roots, and has the 27th shortest possession length on offense. So with FSU’s tempo, this game has a chance to be a wild, frenetic, chaotic beauty. Or it might blow.
3. Our boy Mike has committed to high school recruiting, and you may have heard that the SEC has some walking around money, which could impact the players FSU is able to land. White brought in three top-100 recruits in this past cycle, two of whom are from Florida. For the 2024 class, he’s secured 5* Asa Newell out of Montverde Academy.
So a fun system, lots of money, a chance to be part of a transformational athletic department - Mike White has somehow turned a disappointing 7-year tenure at UF into a pretty good gig.
4. Do you need some Georgia history? They have advanced past the Sweet 16 one time, and it’s been 33 years since they won the SEC regular season. That 1983 team which went to the Final Four could have been really special if Dominique Wilkins – the greatest player in program history – had stuck around for his senior year. They’ve also had several other great players, like [insert great player] and [that other guy]. They did have Anthony Edwards, No. 1 player in the nation, who seemingly committed to FSU in a bizarre live stream video from his car where he talked about getting ready to play for Ham, before getting a better offer. He led the Dawgs to a 16-16 record, rather than joining the 2020 FSU team which was arguably the best team in program history.
5. They take a ton of 3s (43% of their shots), but is not particularly good at making them (268th nationally). Seniors Noah Thomasson and Jabri Abdur-Rahim have proved they can be solid, if not spectacular from 3 (38% and 36% for their careers), while the two freshmen earning minutes have combined to go 10-41 (24%). They’re one of the first teams we’ve played who aren’t solid on the offensive glass (268th) so perhaps a chance for FSU to bring down their horrendous 331st ranking in defensive rebounding.