Game preview by Bill from Tampa
The Florida State Seminoles make their second trip to Atlanta in just over a month. This time the opponent will be considerably tougher as the ‘Noles take on Georgia Tech fresh off their upset victory over #11 Duke last Wednesday.
Leonard Hamilton called the Yellow Jackets a young and talented team that is solid with depth playing up to ten people. That depth did decrease by one when guard Lewis Clinch, 13.2 ppg with 30 three pointers to his credit, was suspended for the rest of the season reportedly for violating the school’s honor code.
Very athletic like North Carolina, the Jackets have a balance of youth and veterans. Tech will start two true freshmen, a redshirt freshman, and two juniors, but bring some senior leadership off the bench. The two true freshmen are good enough that many think they may go straight to the NBA after this season.
Georgia Tech is a quick team that is aggressive on defense. That quickness and aggressiveness has resulted in Tech leading the ACC in steals at 10.5 per game.
That same quickness has contributed to their rebounding
prowess, especially on the offensive boards pulling down nearly 15 per game.
Against Duke the Yellow Jackets showed a balanced blend of an inside game led by Ra’Sean Dickey and a very capable perimeter game knocking down 7 of 12 three point attempts.
The Yellow Jackets play a lineup that could give FSU some defensive matchup difficulties starting just one guard, three forwards, and one center.
Jarvis Crittenton, a 6-5 true freshman, is the only starting guard. The point guard poses problems on offense and defense averaging 13.7 ppg while leading the team in steals with 31. Crittenton is an excellent shooter at 49% from the floor overall and 44% from behind the arc. With his ability to break down defenses his play making ability has added up to almost 6 assists per game. As with any freshman mistakes happen which has resulted in 60 turnovers for Jarvis.
The other true freshman on the Jackets is 6-8 forward Thaddeus Young. A top ten recruit as Crittenton was, Young is extremely active on the floor leading the team in scoring at 14.1 ppg. He is third in rebounds at 5.3 per game. Although Young can knock down the three, he is much more adept at slashing to the rim often getting points from offensive rebounds. Young will be a handful for FSU’s defense.
Redshirt freshman 6-10 forward Mohammad Faye from Senegal was recently added to the starting lineup with the suspension of Clinch. His numbers are modest at 4.9 ppg and 3.7 rpg. However with the starting assignment Faye has been a large factor on the boards pulling down 26 boards in his four starts.
At the other forward spot is Jeremis Smith, a 6-8 junior. Smith is averaging 9.1 ppg and is second on the Jackets in rebounds with 5.6 per game. A very athletic leaper, Smith leads the team in offensive rebounds with 36.
Dickey (6-10) had a huge game against Duke dominating the paint with 21 points on 6-8 shooting plus 6 boards. He leads Tech in rebounds at 6.2per game to go along with his 9.3 ppg. If Dickey takes a three point shot make sure to have your camera ready because you will have an extreme rarity for your picture collection. Dickey will rarely roam very far from the basket. But his athletic ability has made him a dangerous finisher shooting 62%. The Seminoles will need to avoid fouling him as well as Dickey connects from the line very well at 78%. Adding to his prowess in the paint is his defensive ability reflected in his 23 blocked shots.
Off the bench is junior guard Anthony Morrow and redshirt senior Mario West.
Morrow’s main job is to hit the three pointer. That has been an issue as the 6-5 Morrow had to deal with a back injury earlier in the season. That injury appears to be behind him and his legs finally under him as he connected on three from behind the arc against Duke. Morrow averages 8.6 ppg.
West (6-5) is a spark for Tech off the bench. Only averaging 4.4 ppg West is a defensive spark second on the team with 30 steals.
Also off the bench is 6-8 freshman Zach Peacock who will return to the court after a one game suspension for a flagrant elbow to Clemson’s Trevor Booker. Peacock is a solid contributor with 6.6 ppg and 3.1 rpg.
FSU should expect Tech to push the tempo much like North Carolina does. The Jackets are second in the ACC in scoring offense at 83.8 ppg.
They will also crash the boards hard as Tech currently holds an almost +8 rebounding margin.
If the Seminoles are to be successful, not letting the Jackets control the paint and the boards will be key. That has proven difficult for FSU so far given the lack of depth in the frontcourt. It will be up to the guards to prevent the ball from getting to Dickey or Young or prevent the taller Jackets from penetrating.
Tip off is at 6:00 PM and the game will be shown on ESPNU.