Florida State Seminoles basketball came back from an extended layoff with a win vs. NC State — but the squad’s subsequent game and loss against Wake Forest showcased both the rust the team still has to shake off and the issues that have plagued the team all season.
FSU’s offense sputtered in the 76-54 blowout at the hand of the Demon Deacons, with the Seminoles finishing the game shooting 24.2% from the field and going just 4-25 from beyond the arc.
It’s a matchup that suddenly turned into a heated one each year, with the Seminoles riding a four-game winning streak in the series, something that is definitely on the mind of the Cardinals.
From our Louisville sister site Card Chronicle:
Chris Mack is 0-4 against FSU since arriving at Louisville, but the Seminoles’ punking of the Cards started at the tail end of the Rick Pitino era. These guys have beaten us by 13 or more in each of the last three games, they tossed L’s down at the crowd while walking off the Yum Center floor last season, they tried to fight Ryan McMahon for Christ’s sake.
Florida State hasn’t been playing as well as most people expected through the season’s first two months, but there’s still plenty of new and returning talent on that roster, and there’s still Leonard Hamilton on the sidelines. I don’t care how badly they just lost to Wake Forest, if we go down there and win on Saturday night, I’m going to be more encouraged than I’ve been at any point this season since the Bahamas.
One player to watch on the Cardinals’ end will be El Ellis, who actually began his collegiate career in Tallahassee, playing for the TCC Eagles and earning first-team All-American nods. In Louisville’s win vs. Pitt, he racked up 18 points in 19 minutes of play, something that the Cardinals hope is a step in the right direction for finding consistency.
From Card Chronicle:
The days of looking like the best player in college basketball one night and a guy who couldn’t crack the JV starting lineup at Fairdale the next need to stop. And I think Florida State on Saturday should provide him with an opportunity to start taking that next step.
The Seminoles are bigger and more athletic than any ACC team Louisville has faced so far, and their high-pressure on-ball defense has given the Cardinals fits for years now. Ellis is the one guard U of L has who possesses the quickness to consistently get around FSU defenders and get the ball into the paint without making a pass. The question is going to be whether or not El can make the right decision once he gains that advantage.
According to DraftKings, the Seminoles are 4.5 point favorites over the Cardinals.\
Game notes, via FSU
- Florida State enters Saturday’s game with a series-best four-game winning streak against Louisville. The streak includes two consecutive wins at home at the Donald L. Tucker Center (2019 and 2020) and two consecutive wins on the road at the KFC YUM! Center (2020 and 2021).
- The Seminoles’ current four-game winning streak against Louisville is their longest in the series that began on December 16, 1968 and includes membership in two different conferences – the Metro Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles were members of the Metro Conference from the 1976-77 season through the 1990-91 season.
- Saturday’s game matches the Metro Conference Tournament finalists from the 1990-91 season (Florida State and Louisville) in a game won by the Charlie Ward led Seminoles, 76-69, on March 9, 1990. Following the 1991 Metro Conference tournament championship and a 1-1 record in the 1991 NCAA Tournament, Florida State became a member of the ACC on July 1, 1991. Louisville became a member of the ACC on July 1, 2014. Prior to its current four-game winning streak against the Cardinals under 20th year head coach Leonard Hamilton, the Seminoles had never won more than two consecutive games (both during the 1978 season) against Louisville.
Game notes, via Louisville
- While playing at Western Carolina, Mason Faulkner totaled 21 points and seven assists at Florida State in a 79-74 WCU loss on Nov. 15, 2019.
- Louisville and Florida State were fellow members of the Metro Conference from 1976-91.
- Jarrod West, third in the nation in career steals among active players with 280, needs three points for 1,300 in his career at Marshall and UofL. West is seventh in the ACC in assists (3.8) and sixth in assists-turnovers ratio (2.30).
- Mason Faulkner missed UofL’s game at Georgia Tech due to COVID protocols, but returned to play with four assists and three points against Pitt. He has scored in double figures in three of his last four games, is second on the team in assists (34 total), and leads the ACC in assist-turnovers ratio in ACC only games with 11 assists and only one turnover.
- Malik Williams has scored in double figures in seven of his last eight games and is averaging 13.7 points per game in that stretch. He has grabbed at least eight rebounds in 10 of his 13 games and is third in the ACC in rebounding (9.1 rpg) and 20th in the nation in defensive rebounding (6.9 per game).
- Noah Locke scored 13 points vs. Pittsburgh, his 10th game this season in double figures. He is fourth in the ACC in three-pointers made per game (2.5) and three-point FG percentage (.354), and has made at least three threes in eight games.
- Louisville is No. 34 nationally in adjusted defense in KenPom analytics (3rd in the ACC behind Duke, VT). The Cardinals rank 21st in the NCAA in defensive rebounding (29.2 rpg) and 41st in field goal percentage defense (.392).
- Louisville has a 47-16 record during the month of January over the last six years (.746).
- Louisville is unbeaten this season when outrebounding its opponent (8-0), shoots better from the field than the opposition (9-0), or shoots more free throws than its opponent (8-0).