Florida State vs. Charleston Southern
Tip off: 7 PM EST
Spread: Fla St -18
Betting Odds Taken From Bookmaker
Last season, Florida State finished with a 23-11 record and lost to VCU by 1 point in overtime in the Sweet 16.
It was their defense that carried them that far.
Behind the lockdown defense of NBA draftee James Singleton, they finished third in conference points allowed per possession (0.96) and they were tops in the country at adjusted defensive efficiency. Singleton made the ACC All-Defensive team and Bernard James posted a 14% block rate. The Seminoles held opponents to 42% shooting and 40% two point shooting, which were both the best marks in the nation. Because of this defense, you can never count out the #22 ranked Seminoles, even against the most loaded squads.
They are off to a hot 4-0 start this season and a lot of it is due to unexpected contributions from Bernard James.
Bernard James really came out of nowhere. He was cut from his freshman team in high school and he didn’t even play organized basketball until he got to the Air Force in 2003. He didn’t end up at Florida State until he was 25, but he did go to Tallahassee Community College and led that school in career rebounds, blocks, and FG%. He had precidence to success, but he certainly wasn’t expected to make the waves he did. He’s ready to man the paint for the Seminoles. So far this season, he is averaging 10.0 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game in only 23.5 minutes per night.
No Florida State player is averaging more than 13 so far this season, but they had four in double figures (Michael Snaer – the leading scorer, Deividas Dulkys, Terrance Shannon, and James) prior to the last few games.
They are also using a 9 man rotation, which leaves their players fresh while on the court, only further contributing to ther defensive ferocity and high turnover forcing. Snaer, a 6’5″ junior guard had two impressive games to start the year, scoring 16 in the opener against Jacksonville and 15 against UCF. He contributed 20 points in the 2 point loss the the defending champion Huskies.
Charleston Southern has won 5 straight games after dropping their first two to Kansas State and Witchita State. While none of the five victories have been over good teams, the winning has to be encouraging for the Buccaneers.
They finished 16-16 last season with a 9-9 record in the Big South. They lost to UNC Asheville in the Big South Quarterfinals. They stood out neither offensively nor defensively last season, and their .500 record dictates what you would expect from their points scored/allowed per possession, with 1.04 points per possession offensively, while giving up 1.04 ppp.
They have been led by the quartet of Saah Nimley (14.0 ppg), Kelvin Martin (13.6 ppg), Mathiang Muo (11.4 ppg), and Arlon Harper (10.1 ppg).
Nimley, while the best player for the Bucs, has been very inconsistent. With a high game of 24 and a low game of 3, he has hit both ends of the spectrum, but has scored 22 and 24 in the last two games to Radford and Virginia Military. For the Bucs to better last season’s .500 record, they are going to need Nimley to be consistent.
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