Spread: Hokies by 4.
The Hokies play their ACC home opener on Tuesday in a critical match-up between two desperate teams. The loser will fall to 0-2 in league play and face a tough hole to climb out of to get back in the ACC race for a First Round bye. The winner will gain a measure of confidence.
The Hokies swept the noles last year, but were just 2-6 before that against free shoes u. Tech dominated florida state in early January in Blacksburg, then beat them in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinal on the infamous good/no-good shot by Derwin Kitchen.
The noles have finished in the ACC top four three years in a row (3rd place the last two years). But Kitchen is gone, and more importantly so is Chris Singleton – he finished Third Team All ACC last year and was the runner up for Defensive Player of the Year despite missing the last month of the regular season. Singleton is now slummin’ for the winless Wizards.
While the Hokies stink in ACC openers, falling to 1-7 with the loss at wake, Tech has been money in ACC Game #2. The previous 4 years Tech started 0-1, but rebounded to win Game #2 to get back to .500. And the Hokies have won 4 of their past 5 ACC openers (they lost last year to uva).
- Overall: fsu 25-19
- At VT All Time: VT 12-7
- In ACC Play: fsu 6-4
- At VT in ACC Games: VT 3-1
|vs RPI Top 50||1-3 (W-nsu)||0-4|
|vs RPI Top 100||4-3 (W-sbu, osuX2)||2-4 (W-umass, ucf)|
|PPG||70.1 (6)||70.6 (5)|
|PPG vs||59.3 (3)||61.9 (5)|
|FT%||74% (2)||69% (7)|
|FG%||45% (6)||45% (8)|
|3-Pt%||37% (4)||30% (12)|
|Made 3s PG||6.3 (4)||5.5 (8)|
|FG% D||39% (5)||36% (1)|
|3-Pt% D||26% (1)||27% (3)|
|Blocks||4.3 (9)||6.6 (1)|
|Steals||6.5 (5)||8.8 (1)|
|TO Margin||-0.2 (7)||-1.7 (9)|
|Off Reb %||37% (5)||39% (3)|
|Def Reb %||67% (8)||67% (10)|
|Scoring:||Green 15.7 (6)||Snaer 13.2 (14)|
|Rebounding:||DFS 8.1 (7)||James 8.7 (6)|
|FG%||Green 49% (9)||James 58% (DNQ)|
|Assists:||Green 3.4 (8)||Loucks 3.8 (4)|
|Steals:||Green 1.6 (9)||Dulkys 1.7 (2)|
|Blocks:||Raines 1.0 (-)||James 2.4 (4)|
As usual, the noles are built around defense. They bring a tremendous length into Blacksburg (that didn’t come out right). What I mean is they are exceptionally tall as usual. That presents challenges trying to shoot over them. The result, as usual, is florida state leads the ACC in FG% Defense. They also lead in blocked shots and steals.
The other problem the noles’ length presents is rebounding. Tech just played the 2nd-worst rebounding team in the league and got thoroughly beaten on the glass (largely because they did not attack the 2-3 zone on offense and tried to go small against wake on defense). I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Hokies play two of their big men (Davila, Raines, Barksdale) at the same time to combat the size of the noles. Tech must do a better job on the glass then they did in Winston-Salem.
So, if the noles are so good defensively as usual, why aren’t they winning more? Heck, they are 0-2 against the Ivy League with losses to a good harvard team (fsu didn’t score for the first 11 minutes of the game) and they lost to princeton. And they just lost by 20 at a very bad clemson team on Saturday in their ACC opener. Here’s why I think they are down…
They aren’t as athletic as they usually are, meaning the Hokies can push the ball on them… yeah, maybe. VT really struggled to get transition points Saturday except for the back-to-back dunks to tie the game at 50 late. But with how good fsu is defensively, the Hokies must find ways to get easy baskets.
On offense, Ian Miller has been their best scorer since being cleared to play at the end of the first semester. I assume that means he didn’t have the grades to play in the fall semester. The sophomore guard has averaged 13.8 ppg in the 4 games he’s played. But Ian is shooting under 40% from the field and just 25% on 3s, so his scoring is unproductive scoring.
In fact, the noles are just plain awful from deep. They are just 30% from deep on the year despite the fact they have two guys, Loucks and Dulkys, who are supposed to be 3-point shooting specialists. The two are both shooting around 33% from deep. Michael Snaer, a junior guard, has been their best shooter. He’s shooting 35% from long range with 25 makes. He is the most athletic guard and can drive, too. Snaer and Miller will both challenge Tech’s perimeter guards off the dribble.
The big problem for the noles has been turnovers. They have a -1.7 turnover margin, in the bottom third of the ACC. They had 4 more turnovers than the tigers Saturday. Considering the fact fsu leads the ACC in steals (which count as turnovers for the other team), that tells you fsu is giving up a LOT of possessions. Can the Hokies turn those turnovers into points, specifically easy transition points? That will be a big key…
HO-KEYS TO THE GAME:
- Rebounding: Edge (on paper) florida state. The Hokies need to hustle more than they did Saturday for 50/50 balls.
- 3-Pt Shooting: Edge Hokies. Tech is 10-1 when they shoot for a higher percentage from deep than their opponent. They didn’t Saturday (wake 44%, VT 27%), and now the Hokies are 1-3 when the opponent shoots better. Considering VT is 4th in the league in 3-Pt% and fsu is last, let’s hope that’s a good omen.
- Turnovers: Slight Edge VT. wake had 16 turnovers to just 10 by VT Saturday and yet the Hokies still lost. But against the noles with their size advantage, Tech must win this stat to have a chance. They need more quality possessions than the noles, and need fsu turnovers to fuel the transition game.
BORING FACTS ABOUT florida state (“Strength, skill, character”):
|Enrollment||31k undergrad, 8.5k post-grad|
|NCAA Tournament Appearances||13 (1972 Final Four and runner-up), made NCAAs 3 years in a row|
|ACC Titles||5 (Last in ’97)|
|Famous Students/Alums||Burt Reynolds, Christine Lahti, Mac Brown, 2 Heismans (Chris Weinke/Charlie Ward), Jim Morrison, Richard Simmons, Lee Corso, Fred Biletnikoff|
|History||Was florida state college for women until 1947, when it became coed and allowed men|