Florida State returns home after losing on the road at Duke last Saturday, and now gets the chance to play a Georgia Tech team that just picked up a big upset win over Miami this week. It should give FSU a good opportunity to build upon some things they’ve found over the last couple of games.
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This game will be at 1 pm on Regional Sports Networks, live from the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, FL.
Heading into this week, Georgia Tech hadn’t won an ACC game, granted they were given a brutal start. UNC, Clemson, and Virginia are all tough opponents so far this season, and it wasn’t unreasonable for GT to be 0-3 through that stretch, but they surprised many with who they beat for their first ACC win: Miami. Miami was 13-1 heading into the game, with their only loss coming on a neutral floor to a good Maryland team, and having beaten Rutgers, Virginia, and Providence. They had a good resume. So when they traveled to Atlanta and lost to the Yellow Jackets, it opened a lot of eyes and many wondered how it happened.
First, Miami was ice cold from 3, just 5/32 overall. Nijel Pack was 3/12 and Isaiah Wong was 0/8 from deep. When those two are struggling as much as that, it’s hard to win games. Norchad Omier fouled out in 21 minutes for Miami, which opened up 14 offensive rebounds for GT. Secondly, Lance Terry was phenomenal, scoring 24 points on just 13 shots (6 free throws), grabbing 6 rebounds, and snatching a steal as well.
Terry transferred over from Gardner-Webb where he averaged a career 10.9 PPG and 2.7 RPG. He’s been streaky this season, never scoring in double figures in back-to-back games, but he clearly has the talent to score with the best of them, as he showed against Miami.
Georgia Tech’s best player has been Miles Kelly, as the only Yellow Jacket averaging double-figure points with 14.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 1.0 APG on shooting splits of 42.2/39.3/88.2. He’s been in double figures in every game except for two games at the end of November, and is averaging 18 PPG in ACC play so far. The Kelly/Matthew Cleveland matchup should be a lot of fun. He and Terry are the only players shooting better than 33% from 3 on the team.
Dallan Coleman was someone FSU heavily recruited a few years ago, but GT was able to give him more early playing time, and he’s starting to make the most of it, averaging 9.7 PPG and 3.0 RPG. He’s still a little inefficient, shooting just 40.2% from the floor and 32.8% from deep. Coleman is one of those players where the more shots he takes, the less efficient he is.
Jalon Moore is the other scorer close to double figures at 9.5 PPG and 5.8 RPG, and is one of the team’s better defenders averaging 2.3 blocks+steals per game. His 2.1 offensive rebounds per game are something FSU is going to have to watch for.
This is a team that is still finding out what they want to be. 9 different players have started at least two games, and all 9 of those guys play 12 minutes per game or more. Javon Franklin, Rodney Howard, and Deivion Smith are all great rebounders, and combine for 5.4 offensive rebounds per game. Smith and Kyle Sturdivant are the best playmakers on the team averaging a combined 5.8 assists per game. Then there’s Tristan Maxwell, who… plays? I’m honestly not sure what he’s good at.
It was a disappointing result for Florida State in Durham this past weekend as they lost 86-67 to Duke. The coaching staff was proud of how they fought and didn’t give up in the end, but they could never find the momentum they needed. Anytime they got a glimmer of hope, a bad pass in transition or a missed free throw killed it all. They still have to be pleased with the way Caleb Mills and Darin Green Jr performed, and Matthew Cleveland added a 4th straight double-double through mostly free throws.
This is going to be a challenging matchup against Georgia Tech’s tricky defense, FSU’s main ball handlers in Jalen Warley, Chandler Jackson, and Caleb Mills. They’re going to have to be strong with the ball, make correct passes on time, and get things organized to make sure the offense runs as smoothly as possible.
Baba Miller only has to sit one more game before he can return to action. I know he’s chomping at the bit to get back out there, and FSU can’t wait to have him. We’ll talk more about him next game.
Jaylan Gainey is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Cam’Ron Fletcher is out for the season with a knee injury.
Baba Miller will be back next game against Wake Forest, but has to sit this one last game.
Jeremiah Bembry was seen with a boot on for the Duke game.
Tristan Maxwell and Jordan Meka have missed the last two games with an illness for Georgia Tech, but are likely to be back for this game. They were probable for the Miami game but still didn’t play, I’m expecting them to be a go in this one.
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G: Jalen Warley
G: Caleb Mills
G: Darin Green Jr
F: Matthew Cleveland
C: Cameron Corhen
G: Lance Terry
G: Dallan Coleman
G: Miles Kelly
F: Jalon Moore
C: Rodney Howard
Georgia Tech has the best 3-point defense in the ACC, allowing teams to shoot just 27.3% from 3 so far this season. As Miami found out this past game, if you take too many 3s, you take away valuable shots that you could otherwise have. Taking 20 3s is likely too many (Miami took 32, making 5), so unless FSU is blistering hot from 3 in this game, they should focus on getting inside.
Even without the pesky Jose Alvarado, this is a tricky GT defense to score on. In terms of effective field goal percentage, they’re allowing one of the 50 lowest percentages. They’re not forcing as many turnovers or blocking as many shots as normal, but you still can’t be lousy with the basketball. Make smart, crisp passes, generate open shots with ball movement.
It’s imperative Florida State defends without fouling in this one. In games where Georgia Tech’s free throw rate (free throw attempts per field goal attempts) is below 30%, they’re just 2-5, with the wins coming over lowly Alabama State and Northern Illinois. On the flip side, FSU needs to get to the free-throw line. In games where Georgia Tech allows a free throw rate of greater than 36%, they’re 2-4.
FSU is favored by 2.5 points with an over/under of 144.5.
Florida State should have enough athletes to defend Georgia Tech, it’s really going to depend on if FSU can get enough quality shots and free throws to score enough. I like the ‘Noles in this one.
FSU 72 GT 68
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