Thursday, March 1, 2012
game preview: Florida State
Date/Time: Thursday, March 1; 7:00
Record against the Seminoles: 17-20
Last matchup: FSU 58, UVA 55; 2/4/12; Tallahassee
Last game: UNC 54, UVA 51 (2/25); Miami 78, FSU 62 (2/26)
Opposing blogs: Tomahawk Nation
UVA: 60.2 (#338)
FSU: 67.8 (#96)
UVA: 104.8 (#106)
FSU: 104.0 (#118)
UVA: 85.5 (#4)
FSU: 86.8 (#8)
UVA: .8888 (#19)
FSU: .8644 (#29
Projected starting lineups:
PG: Jontel Evans (7.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.8 apg)
SG: Sammy Zeglinski (8.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.7 apg)
SF: Joe Harris (11.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.6 apg)
PF: Mike Scott (16.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 apg)
F: Akil Mitchell (3.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.8 apg)
PG: Luke Loucks (6.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.0 apg)
SG: Michael Snaer (13.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.9 apg)
SF: Deividas Dulkys (7.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.1 apg)
PF: Bernard James (10.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 0.4 apg)
C: Xavier Gibson (7.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.4 apg)
This was always supposed to be the easier of the two "opportunities" leading into the end of the season. And we only lost the harder of the two by three, so.... good news? Hard to say. As of this writing I have no idea whether or not NC State has beaten Miami on Wednesday, because it's only Tuesday. If the Canes won, then this is a must-win; Miami's last game is at home against Boston College, which they'll also win. If the Pack won, that's much better; that would be one step toward making this game a potential clincher for the all-important four-seed in the ACCT.
-- UVA on offense
The vaunted FSU defense has shown a few cracks lately. Giving up points to Duke is one thing; giving up 78 to Miami, minus their truck-sized center, is another. 54 of those points came in the second half, and FSU piled up 29 fouls with both Deividas Dulkys and Okaro White fouling out.
Most of that damage was done by Miami's backcourt; unusual because FSU likes to draw opposing guards into the lane and swat their layup attempts. That'll make the Jontel Evans vs. the world matchup interesting; thanks to a newfound assertiveness, Evans has scored double-digits in every game since the last FSU game, except for one (Maryland, when he didn't have to.) By keeping Mike Scott out near the perimeter like we have been, it'll create a dilemma for Bernard James: help on an Evans drive, or leave Mike Scott open? James is the real blockmaster; Xavier Gibson gets his share, but not much more than you'd expect a big tall guy to get.
This is another team that has size, size, size, just like UNC. So the blueprint for winning is the same. All those things we did well, keep doing them. (Jontel getting to the rim, for example.) All the things we tried and failed to do, don't fail. (Mike Scott's baseline jumper needs to be returned to him, stat.) This end of the court should look awfully similar to what we saw on Saturday. Plus, the refs might even call a foul or two on the Seminoles!
-- UVA on defense
This, however, is different. Starting at point guard, where Luke Loucks is a big, slowish guy. And the thing about big, slowish point guards.... Evans drinks their milkshake. Loucks is a slot machine at point guard; one day he can turn in a beautiful seven assist, zero turnover performance, and the next day he'll flip it six times.
FSU's a turnover-prone team in general; it hurts their efficiency quite a bit. The bigs don't take very good care of the ball. This is the other contrast to UNC, where the bigs are the offense. It's a good formula for UVA; in our last meeting, we were able to hold the Noles to 58 points in 63 possessions.
The main things: don't let Michael Snaer get hot, because he will. And keep Bernard James off the offensive glass. James is an excellent rebounder at that end and gets a lot of points from putbacks. Like Zeller did. UVA has been a great defensive rebounding team this season, but hasn't been able to keep the really-bigs off the offensive glass without Assane Sene. James is 6'10" (though with long arms) so it's doable in his case.
Since (and including) our last game, FSU hasn't been great offensively, scoring about .95 points per possession. UVA's been about the same, but against better defenses. It hasn't taken a brick wall to stop the FSU offense; they sometimes do it to themselves. With the same kind of effort from the UNC game, we should see another very low-scoring game from our opponent. My guess: FSU doesn't reach 60 again.
Had the six-week prognosis held for Sene's broken foot, he'd be back for this game. With a healthy Sene, I'd be loving our chances. I still like them. The defense is still the defense, and FSU is on a little bit of a slide. Sinking a few shots on the offensive end - or not - will determine the outcome here. I think just enough of them fall to get us a much-needed win.
-- Final score: UVA 56, FSU 52