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Five Things: South Florida

Back to a sport where the Champion isn’t decided by corporate suits

NCAA Basketball: South Florida at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The Seminoles hoops team gets back to business in Saturday’s game vs South Florida in Sunrise, FL.

1. It’s time for the annual Orange Bowl Classic, which will be the 13th time the ‘Noles have played in this. They’ll be wearing turquoise uniforms for the 9th time in the event (they’re 6-2). This will be the final neutral site game until the ACC Tournament, and will be the first time the ‘Noles have played in a week, and it will be a week until their next game against SMU. Lots of rest!

The full name of the event is the AutoNation Orange Bowl Classic, and yes, it’s officially connected to the Orange Bowl, in which the ‘Noles will be featured after the college football selection committee made a decision you may have heard about. But hey, all that football stuff will get settled in the Orange Bowl, because obviously a meaningless exhibition between Georgia’s backups and FSU’s backups is THE BEST way to settle the argument. I can’t think of a single better way to determine the outcome a season featuring three undefeated Power 5 teams.

2. How good is South Florida? They’re not good. They have the 302nd rated offense in the nation, and somehow their 24% 3-pt shooting isn’t dead last (Hi, Maryland). Their head coach is Amir Abdul-Rahim, who you may remember from the Kennesaw State Five Things, as he was their coach last year before moving up to USF. He brought with him 6-4 guard Chris Youngblood, who shot over 40% from deep in back-to-back years. Now he’s at 19%. We all know what this means.

3. Just when it was looking like FSU would be back to their traditional depth, Cam Fletcher was injured and will miss the rest of the season for the 3rd time in his 4-year college career. His defensive rebound %, block %, and steal % were all at career highs.

4. The ‘Noles have blown big leads in back-to-back games. The first, against Georgia, came out of the same WTF airspace as FSU’s gridiron loss to Jacksonville State a few years ago. The 2nd, against UNC, was completely predictable when it became clear UNC was going to shoot a thousand FTs in the 2nd half.

The important part is how they bounce back. KenPom has FSU favored by 9, and this is a game FSU absolutely has to win. Why? The chances of dancing are pretty much non-existent, but we knew that months ago. But there is a chance to finish with FSU’s best record in three years, and play in the NIT. Think of the NIT as a bowl game in which the good players don’t sit out. Losing games sucks. Winning is way better. Let’s do that.

5. Is FSU’s defense actually good again? The ‘Noles are currently 52nd nationally, despite being 310th in defensive rebounding, and 346th in allowing FT attempts. Somehow they’re 4th nationally in opponent 3-pt% (25%), after finishing 344th last year. This will be something to monitor. After the past two seasons in which FSU finished 106th and 239th in defense, it’s still a bit of a surprise every possession the opponent fails to score.