7 PM at the Tuck. Good seats available!
1. Out-of-conference play was a disaster, but with the new year there’s a chance to right the ship in a shaky ACC. Right off the bat FSU gets a winnable game at home vs a Georgia Tech team breaking in a new coach. Damon Stoudamire was an incredible player at Arizona, but that didn’t translate directly to coaching when he was given a chance at Pacific. Since then he’s done a stint on the bench for the Celtics, and he appears to have developed an appreciation for the finer things in life, namely 3-pointers. His team is elite at taking them away (18TH nationally), though – if I’m going to be honest here – I haven’t actually watched them play so I have no idea if this is great defense or shear luck. You can’t blame me, I mean – it’s Georgia Tech. Not gonna spend two hours on a Saturday watching them lose to UMass Lowell. However, they did beat Duke, so something is cooking in Atlanta.
2. On the negative side, his team can’t shoot. Miles Kelly, who looked like a breakout candidate for 1st Team All ACC has seemingly forgotten how to make the ball go through the basket. He made 38% from deep last year, and 45% on 2s. This year those numbers are down to 22% and 41%. Luckily for him, Florida State’s defense has fixed many a shooting woe. Kowacie Reeves, who played for the Gators last year, has been their best perimeter threat.
3. Since the ACC randomly crams a conference game into early December, the ‘Noles are currently 0-1. They need a win to keep pace with Duke. You have to go back to Dwayne Bacon’s rookie season to find one where FSU started conference play 0-2.
4. Freshman Taylor Bol Bowen has played double digit minutes in five straight games, and while he hasn’t done a lot of statsheet stuffing, he has found ways to impact the game and is on a nice trajectory in his development. He has the highest offensive rebounding rate on the team, and has been able to show off his speed in the open court leading a few breaks. It’s easy to see why this staff was so high on him, and by his junior year should be a major conference impact player. Will that be at FSU? Who knows with the heavy use of the portal, and Ham’s uncertain future. Coach Hamilton has one year left on his contract, but with FSU in a lawsuit to escape the black hole of the ACC, Alford might be looking to save money and Ham’s contract is a bargain. Any replacement capable of sparking energy in the program will cost significantly more.
5. Turnovers are the stat to watch. GT’s offense hasn’t been stingy with the ball (235th nationally), and their defense really doesn’t turn anyone over (346th). Should be a good opportunity for FSU to steal a few extra possessions and take home the win.