Prior to the season it looked like UCF (1-1) would be the rare team that could match FSU’s size. But that size took a major blow when 6-11 Collin Smith - the team’s leading scorer and rebounder - announced that he’d be missing the season. The Knights are still 45th in total height, but don’t have bigs down low to match the Seminoles.
What they do have is a lot of transfers, though unfortunately a key one is injured. Darius Perry from Louisville has yet to play this season. Couple that with an injury to their other point guard - Tony Johnson - and the Knights are missing their floor generals. Predictably, their offense has sputtered, but they still had enough to knock off Auburn in their season opener.
Brandon Mahan, a 6-5 senior from Texas A&M, leads the team at 16.5 ppg. He’s primarily a slasher. There were times last year when head coach Johnny Dawkins said that Mahan was the best player on the floor.
And while Mahan has been UCF’s best so far, the Knights are one of the rare FSU opponents outside of Duke, North Carolina, and Florida who feature a former 5* recruit. Former Oregon player CJ Walker (6-8, 205) transferred to the hometown Knights after his freshman season. He hasn’t added much to the scoring column (5.0 ppg), but he has 5* bounce and athleticism.
Freshman Isaiah Adams (6-6, 210) has scored 10.0 ppg, and is tied with Mahan for the team lead in steals (2.0 spg). The team’s best shooter is sophomore Darin Green (6-4, 185) who hit 42% from deep last year on 163 attempts.
Until this team is relatively back to full strength, they’ll have to rely on defense to win. They shut down Auburn, but weren’t able to do the same thing to Michigan. If FSU scores a point per possession they should win easily.
The game tips at 9 PM (thanks, ACC Network!) and will be broadcast on ACCN. The ‘Noles opened as a 13.5 point favorite.