Tomorrow night, the Orange will suit up against a Florida State team that is just as firmly on the bubble as SU is. In Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology, released on Monday, the Orange are part of the last four teams in, playing against Seton Hall in a playoff game. Similarly, the Seminoles are also listed as one of Lunardi’s last four teams in, playing against Butler in a play-in game. Lunardi is one of few bracketologists who have the Orange as part of the last four in, as opposed to being clear of the bubble.
While these teams’ resumes seem to stack up as far as March is concerned, this game is an absolute must-win for the Orange with the season winding down. The Seminoles are 16-7 with a 6-5 conference record. FSU’s biggest wins have come against Florida, VCU, and Virginia. The team’s only bad loss came against Hofstra in November and is riding a four game winning streak against BC, Clemson, NC State, and Wake Forest.
Florida State has some size in the frontcourt, which could give the Orange trouble. Where SU can benefit, however, is in its veteran leadership, which FSU lacks. The Seminoles average 38 rebounds per game and have an unusually high offensive rebound percentage, at 31.9 percent. The ‘Noles grab 53 percent of all rebounds, good for 61st in the country. Comparatively, SU grabs about half of all rebounds, 187th in the nation.
FSU is led by two freshman guards, Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley. Beasley leads the team in scoring at 17.3 points per game, but Bacon isn’t far behind with 16.2. Both guards are averaging more than 5.5 rebounds per game too, which actually leads the team. Sophomore Xavier Rathan-Mayes also scores in double figures and leads the team in assists. Boris Bojanovsky, a 7-foot-3 senior, has an opportunity to abuse the zone with his size, despite only averaging six points per game. Jim Boeheim recently said that he thinks that there are three future first-round picks on the roster.
For the Orange to come out on top, its going to have to rely on turnovers and quality shooting. Veteran leadership will play a huge role as two fifth-year seniors will matchup with two freshmen. Simply put, if SU’s shooters find ways to put the ball in the hoop and the Orange is defensibly responsible in the paint, it should be a cakewalk. Unfortunately, it’s never that easy. Hopefully the long layoff worked as a rest period and didn’t cause the roster to go cold, but with just seven games left, every game becomes more important than the next.