Sizing up Florida State -- Q & A with one of their own

The ACC Tournament starts just more than 36 hours. Not for Florida State though, whose 10-6 conference record earned them the third seed and first-round bye this weekend.

FSUncensored blogs for www.tomahawknation.com, and they kindly agreed to answer some questions concerning the Seminoles leading into the conference tournament.

Here are his remarks.

The Playbook -- Of Florida State’s 10 ACC wins, eight came against teams seeded seventh or lower in this week’s tournament. I think this might be the reason the ‘Noles have flown under the radar to this point. How can Florida State win this tournament?

FSUncensored -- Florida States' defense is the best in the nation, at least according to Ken Pomeroy. The defense is a given and has been consistent the entire year. However, that isn't what will get the Seminoles through this tournament. The defense will be the foundation for their success, but there are two other key factors that are necessary for the Seminoles' success. They have to limit their turnovers and they need to shoot the ball better. A tournament setting is not the place to making careless mistakes. Florida State is one of the worst teams in the nation when it comes to turnover percentage. Fortunately, their defense, led by the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Chris Singleton has bailed the Seminoles out on many occasions. The Seminoles can't give up the easy points. Additionally, the Seminoles can't expect to shoot 38% from the floor and go very far in this tournament. The Seminoles are holding their opponents to 60 points per game. The Noles are only scoring 69 points per game and that average is inflated by some major blow outs in out-of-conference play. If the Seminoles shoot consistently from the floor, they will be hard to beat.

The Playbook -- FSU is 0-3 against Clemson and NC State this season. The ‘Noles will face one of those two teams in the quarterfinals. Which team would you rather play, and why?

FSUncensored-- Anyone who has been following the ACC this year knows that anything can happen on any night. One could argue that it would be better for the Noles to play NC State solely based on seeding principles. Why wouldn't you want to face the lower seeded team? FSU played one of their worst defensive games against the Wolfpack and ran into a buzz saw that night that was in the form of Scott Wood. He put up 31 points going 7 for 13 from beyond the arc. The Noles were in that game as they had five players in double digits. They simply couldn't stop NC State. Part of this may have been the difficult game that Florida State played only two days prior in College Park, Maryland. The defense is playing better now than it has all year and Michael Snaer has developed significantly since that game.

Florida State shot a combined 39% from the floor in the two Clemson games. In the first game, they simply couldn't get the ball to drop. They had good looks, but it wasn't their night. In the second game, the Noles played well enough to win and it shouldn't have even been a close game. Clemson simply couldn't score in the first half. However, it all fell apart in the second half for the Noles. That said, it is hard to beat a team three times in one season. Clemson is worn down now and the injury bug is starting to show up. Clemson does not shoot the ball particularly well from beyond the arc. That plays into the hands of the Noles. But, Clemson's trapping style of defense will cause the Seminoles trouble.

Given the fact that the three games against NC State and Clemson were really atypical for the Noles it is hard to say which one is a better match up. Though, we would love to beat Clemson given the opportunity.

The Playbook -- Solomon Alabi is still very raw in the post, but at 7-1, 240 lbs., one would expect him to average more than six rebounds a game. What has been his biggest problem this year on the boards?

FSUncensored -- Ken Pomeroy wrote an excellent article about effective height and what impact height plays in the game of college basketball. The four stats that were most affected by height were block percentage, 2pt% defense, FG% defense and adjusted defensive efficiency. Solomon is very aggressive in the defensive lane. But that energy is focused on blocking shots, which is one of the best in the country at doing. This gets him out of position to get good rebounds. On offense, he simply gets pushed off the block and doesn't set up well, yet. He needs to get stronger and that will come with time. He has only been playing organized basketball since his junior year of high school.

The Playbook -- FSU has excellent size. How will that help them in Greensboro and in the NCAA Tournament?

FSUncensored -- The Seminoles' starting front court measures 6'9, 6'9 and 7'1. There are few teams in the country that can boast such size up front. However, many of those few teams happen to be in the ACC. The ACC is full of big men this year. Fortunately for the Noles, their bench has just as much size. Meaning the Noles can run big man after big men off the bench and force plenty of match up difficulties for their opponents. Additionally, the Noles' starting guards are 6'4 and 6'5. Plus, these aren't your typical methodical, plodding big men. These guys can get out and run and are highly athletic. This poses significant match up problems on both ends of the court. For example, the Noles ran a 2-3 zone with Solomon Alabi on the wing and Chris Singleton in the middle. It was more of a hybrid 2-1-2 zone, but you get the point. As mentioned previously, you have to be efficient with your possessions in tournament play. Hopefully, the Seminoles can use their size advantage to extend possessions with good rebounding.

The Playbook -- Who is one player we might not hear of very much for the Seminoles that will have a big impact this weekend

FSUncensored -- I don't know if he will have a big weekend, but he needs to have a big weekend: Ryan Reid. The Seminoles' lone senior (who actually plays, there are a couple of walk on seniors this year) is a 6'9 power forward can have a significant impact on the Seminoles success. He isn't flashy but he is one of their work horses in the paint. If he can be consistently successful and reliable on both ends of the court, the Seminoles could have a good tournament.

Another gracious thanks to Mark for helping out. Hopefully a few more bloggers will be stopping by in the next day or two to share their thoughts on the battles down in Greensboro. Once again, be sure to visit Mark's site, Tomohawk Nation, for some great thoughts on everything FSU.


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