Wanted to get this put out. Game write up will drop tomorrow.
Two t-shirt give aways.
TWOSday in 🏰‼️🆚 Florida State🕘 9PM✌️ TWO Halftime Acts✌️ TWO T-Shirt Giveaways✌️ TWO-Themed Tunes#StoneByStone x #Hokies pic.twitter.com/SE3b9vGSXg— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) February 12, 2024
HOKIES HOOPS CENTRAL: Florida State (13-10) at Virginia Tech (13-10) 9PM ESPNU
Florida State (13-10)
At Virginia Tech (13-10)
January 6th, 2023
9 p.m. ET
Virginia Tech Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Bob Wischusen,
Analyst: Jon Crispin
Virginia Tech Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Zach Mackey
Analyst: Mike Burnop
Current Spread: Hokies -5.5
Can the Hokies put up a fight?
The Hokies come home after getting overrun by a Notre Dame squad that had lost seven straight ACC games. The Hokies really don't seem to be able to counter other teams that are moderately athletic. FSU's last game was an 80-76 loss to Virginia and lost three of the last five games.
The Florida State Seminoles squad comes in 13-10. This will be the 62nd meeting between the Hokies and Florida State. The Hokies are 24-37 after dropping the initial meeting in January. The game could have been much worse but the Hokies held FSU to 20% perimeter shooting while hitting 47.8% of their own.
The Seminoles have been coached by Steve Hamilton since 2002. Florida State is his fourth head coaching job including a one year stint as the Washington Wizards head coach. He also spent time as an assistant at Austin Peay and Kentucky from 1971-1986. The Seminoles come in 13-10 with only one Notable win over Colorado in OT. Their understandable losses were to Georgia, Florida and UNC. They also lost to SMU, USF, and Lipscomb which were quite ugly with USF and SMU both winning by double digits. Since playing the Hokies last they are 6-4 winning games they were expected to and losing the same.
FSU lost two of their three top scorers to the transfer portal. Florida State returnees Darin Green Jr and Baba Miller are major contributors. The Seminoles also got three transfers in guards Josh Nickleberry from LaSalle and Primo Spears from Georgetown (winning the name to school name squad first team award), and forward Jamir Watkins from VCU. Watkins is a starter with Spears playing starter minutes off the bench and Nickleberry getting about 13 mpg. Four-star forward Taylor Bowen was their only freshman commit and has played in almost every game.
Spears missed the Seminoles first eight games waiting on his NCAA transfer waiver to be approved by the NCAA and was freed up by the recent court decision that allowed all transfers to play immediately.
The Seminoles Darin Green Jr is the only one playing more than 30 mpg. They have four players averaging more than 22 mpg but have seven more that regularly average at least 10 mpg. The starting five are Green, Watkins, Miller, Warley, and either De'Ante Green or Cameron Corhen. Spears is the primary subs off the bench. Cam'Ron Fletcher, a key reserve, who missed the last game is now out for the season due to an ACL injury.
Hamilton has the Noles playing a loose man-to-man defense focused on collapsing to the lane. His teams focus on preventing open shots, limiting dribble penetration and disrupting interior passes. They are very focused on positioning to get defensive rebounds and clogging the paint to prevent second chance opportunities. So far opponents have shot 33% from outside on 23 shots per game. They tend to lose perimeter coverage off screens and crossing runs along the baseline allowing open corner looks.
Offensively, the Seminoles prefer to get to the hoop or find an interior pass to a big. They are averaging 17.8 threes attempted per game in ACC play, shooting just over 31%. Dribble penetration by Green and Spears drives their offense. This isn't the forest of bigs that Florida State has typically had in years past but there will be one or two 6'10+ players on the floor at all times.
22 SR G 6-4 180
11.7 Pts, 3.1 Reb, 1.0 Ast
1 JR G 6-6 200
7.3 Pts, 3.0 Reb, 2.6 Ast
23 JR G 6-3 185
10.6 Pts, 1.9 Reb, 2.2 Ast
0 SO G 6-5 215
5.1 Pts, 1.3 Reb, 1.1 Ast
20 SR G 6-4 205
3.1 Pts, 1.2 Reb, 0.3 Ast
2 JR F 6-7 210
14.0 Pts, 5.7 Reb, 2.7 Ast
11 SO F 6-11 204
7.6 Pts, 4.9 Reb, 1.5 Ast
3 SO F 6-10 225
8.5 Pts, 3.4 Reb, 0.4 Ast
5 SO F 6-10 210
5.6 Pts, 2.1 Reb, 0.5 Ast
Taylor Bol Bowen
10 FR F 6-10 195
3.0 Pts, 2.6 Reb, 0.3 Ast
What to expect from Florida State?
The Seminoles will alternate a three guard/two forward set versus two guard/three forward sets. Watkins is the swing forward so with him on the floor its typically a two guard/three forward set. They are led in scoring by the combo of Watkins and Green. In ACC play they have had to rely on Watkins much more as teams have run them off the perimeter.
Green and Spears driving to the hoop creates most of the Seminoles offensive opportunities. Their dribble penetration force defenses to adjust to them. The Hokies cant afford to let these two dictate inside adjustments. Getting around screens cleanly or switching off will be crucial to success. Spears is coming off the bench but playing 25 mpg. He is like a change of pace back in football so Hokies need to be aware of him when he checks in.
The Noles are able to create double digit turnovers but significantly less than the last time the Hokies faced off with them.
FSU has played several real duds, struggling defensively to keep teams out of the paint. The more success the Hokies have inside the more FSU draws to the lane, leaving shooters open outside. Perimeter could be a rejuvenation game after several games struggling from outside for the Hokies.
The Seminoles have a heavy focus on getting defensive rebounds. That said there is very little difference in the rebounding averages this season. They allow 11.8 offensive rebounds per game and 12 second chance points.
Can the Hokies put forth a better effort inside than they did against any of their recent competition? FSU while not as big inside as years past still has formidable size inside which has proved this season to be a major factor in the Hokies losses. I am not sure what the answer is with Young seemingly unwilling to employ alternate lineups or defensive styles.
The Hokies need to create open looks by getting inside and drawing the Noles into the paint. FSU is susceptible to dribble penetration and overreacts in terms of collapsing inside. The Hokies have been stronger in the last three games in terms of getting into the paint. The Seminoles overreact to prevent lane possessions which causes them to lose track of perimeter shooters. The ACC has feasted on shooting threes against the Seminoles.
The Noles struggle with fouls with five players averaging at least 2.8 per game. The Hokies have a great opportunity to get starters off the floor and get to the line if they can create opportunities for Kidd under the basket. The ability to work guards along the baseline is another area FSU has had a hard time defending and has led to reach in fouls or offside layups. The Hokies got 20 free throw attempts but allowed FSU to get to the line for 29 attempts.
Who dictates pace and space? The more the Hokies can get the Noles to adjust to them in the paint the better their chances are of winning tonight. Forcing FSU to score outside of three feet is another major factor in getting a win. Controlling the paint unfortunately isn't a strong suit for the Hokies.
The Noles struggle against perimeter shooting teams that can pass the ball effectively around the perimeter. They lose though when they are forced to make baskets away from the hoop. In their ten losses they only shot above 40% overall in three games. They only manage about six second chance points a game as well. They just have shown they are beatable. Not really surprising when you see it like that. Bottom line: Contest shots and pack the lane.
The concern all Hokie Fans can attest to though is as much as Florida State has shown themselves to be beatable so have the Hokies. I just don't know what to expect game in and game out.