Game Preview by Bill from Tampa
Records: FSU – 17-11, ACC 5-9 (9th); Home overall 13-3, ACC 4-3
NC State – 14-12, ACC 4-9 (t 10th); Road overall 2-5, ACC 2-4
Last Five Games: FSU 0-5, NC State 1-4
Last Game: Tied 31-31, FSU gave up 12 straight points to start the 2nd half in losing 73-55 to Maryland.
Down by a point at the half, Sidney Lowe was taken to the hospital due to dehydration and flu like symptoms and NC State was blown out in the second half by UNC 83-64.
Key Stats (ACC only): Scoring offense – FSU 71.4 ppg (7th), NC State 68.9 ppg (11th)
Scoring defense – FSU 73.2 ppg (9th) NC State 74.5 ppg (10th)
Free throws – FSU .783 (1st), NC State .731 (3rd)
FG percentage – FSU .444 (9th), NC State .477 (3rd)
FG percentage defense – FSU .468 (6th), .469 (7th)
3-pt FG percentage – FSU .388 (1st), NC State .387 (2nd)
3-pt FG percentage defense – FSU .351 (t 4th), NC State .380 (11th)
Rebounding margin – FSU +.5 (6th), NC State -5.2 (12th)
Assists – FSU 12.21 (10th), NC State 13.62 (4th)
Turnover margin – FSU -.64 (8th), NC State -3.62 (12th)
Steals – FSU 5.86 (9th), NC State 4.92 (11th)
Projected Starters (stats for all games)
FSU: Al Thornton (6-8) – 19.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, .518 FG%,
.429 3-pt%, .813 FT%
Ralph Mims (6-2) – 5.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, .390 FG%, .368 3-pt%,
.759 FT%, 66 A, 49 TO
Jason Rich (6-3) – 10.5 ppg, .509 FG%, .424 3-pt%, .819 FT%, 3.3 rpg
Isaiah Swann (6-1) – 9.6 ppg, .441 FG%, .357 3-pt%, .778 FT%,
89 A (1st), 59 TO
Uche Echefu (6-9) – 7.0 ppg, .433 FG%, .328 3-pt%, .763 FT%,
4.4 rpg (2nd)
N.C. State: F Gavin Grant (6-7) - 15.1 ppg, ..469 FG%, .325 3-pt%, .740 FT%, 4.2 apg
F Brandon Costner (6-8) - 16.2 ppg, .467 FG%, .369 3-pt%,
.688 FT% 7.8 rpg
F Ben McCauley (6-9) - 15.6 ppg, .598 FG%, .664 FT%, 6.7 rpg,
89 assists (2nd)
SG Courtney Fells (6-5) - 11.7 ppg, .448 FG%, .327 3-pt%, .746 FT% 4.0 rpg
PG Engin Atsur (6-4) - 11.9 ppg, .509 FG%, .403 3-pt%, .833 FT%, 4.9 apg
It’s no secret that NC State has been very short-handed this season
playing mostly just seven players. All five starters have played a large number of minutes each game with the lowest being 33 mpg by Atsur. Despite that, the Wolfpack have been a very scrappy team that has fought as hard as they can for forty minutes. With two wins over Virginia Tech and a win over the Tar Heels, this is a team that Florida State should not take for granted, especially since the Seminoles are on a five game losing streak.
Lowe has kept some of former coach Herb Sendek’s Princeton-type style, primarily because of the personnel he inherited. However, with his NBA experience, Lowe has installed some pro sets as well. His sets coming out of timeouts in particular have been very good.
It’s not an offense that will generally look for offense from its
defense by creating steals and turnovers. NC State opponents average just over 12 turnovers a game.
Lowe calls all the plays and once he determines a weakness, he will continue to attack that weakness until the opponent stops it. In FSU’s case that been its interior defense.
That’s where Atsur comes in. While Atsur is not a slashing point guard, helped along by still nursing a sore hamstring, the native of Turkey has the experience to adeptly pick apart defenses. Look for Atsur to find McCauley, often down low, who is very agile and can create shots for himself.
Grant is more of a slashing style of guard and has the ability to get to the rim.
For FSU to win the game, someone other than Thornton is going to have to pick up the scoring slack. Everyone except Thornton has seen their offensive stats remain static or go down, notably Rich, since point guard Toney Douglas went down with the fractured hand.
The game will be the final regular season home appearance for seniors Jerel Allen and Thornton. Each will be honored before the game. Bob Sura’s number will be retired at halftime.