NoleGameday

Game Preview: Florida State Vs Charleston Southern

College Basketball is finally back and the Florida State Seminoles will tip off their season against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers at 1 p.m. inside the Donald L. Tucker Center.

FSU finished 20-14 last season with an 8-10 mark in conference play. They made the NIT as a #4 seed and were quickly dispatched in the second round by #1 seed Valparaiso.

The Noles return two starters in Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes. Mayes led the team in scoring his freshman year, and experienced a dropoff in scoring his sophomore year after trying to become more of a passer. Bacon was the leading scorer on the team during the 2015-2016 season, he spent the offseason redeveloping his jumpshot so that he can be a more complete player.

The Seminoles starting five is rounded out by Jonathan Isaac, Terance Mann, and Michael Ojo. Ojo is in his redshirt senior season, and missed all of last season after a torn meniscus during preseason practice. Ojo will be relied on to rebound and defend. At 7’1” and 300 pounds, but under 10% body fat, he should help intimidate the opposition inside. Mann contributed to the team last year during his freshman season. He’s not much of a shooter, but he finds crafty ways to get buckets in transition and inside the paint. If his percentages can go up, he should find some more success on offense. Isaac was the jewel of the 2016 recruiting class, he is a 5* Forward or will get  a chance to prove his worth early. If his scoring skills transition over (and by the looks of the preseason, they have) then Jonathan Isaac could be an NBA Lottery Pick as soon as 2017.

The Buccaneers are hoping to put together a better season than last year, when they finished just 9-21 overall and 5-13 in Big South Conference play, and those chances are possible with four of their five starters returning.

Armel Potter, Raemond Robinson, Patrick Wallace, and Javis Howard all started and playing big minutes for CSU last year. Potter led the team in scoring (13.8 PPG) and assisting (3.1 APG) last season as a true freshman, he should only go up from here. The keys for him are to improve his shooting percentages from the line and deep. Robinson is one of the best shooters on Charleston Southern, and he showed that by hitting 85 three point shots on 42.1% shooting last season.. Wallace is another one of CSU’s top returning scorers, he averaged 9 points a game last year and 36% from deep. And Howard was the second leading rebounder (4.9 RPG) for the team last year, and he’s the tallest player on their roster. As a whole, CSU has a very undersized team and they are likely to struggle with the length of FSU’s defenders.

Last season, the Noles and Bucs faced off on December 21st, with FSU pulling out a 75-64 victory at home.

The Seminoles win was punctuated by true freshman Dwayne Bacon’s 20 points and 10 rebounds. Jarquez Smith added 12 points and 6 rebounds, while XRM put together a statline of 6 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and two steals.

For the Buccaneers, Armel Potter led the way in scoring with 20 points and 4 assists. Raemond Robinson also chipped in 11 points and 5 rebounds in the loss.

Prediction:

It’s going to be tough for Charleston Southern to find success against the length and talent of Florida State. The Noles absolutely trump CSU in size at every position, and if they play smoothly, this thing could get ugly for the Bucs.

CSU’s starting center is a mere 6’8”, and he’ll spend his night guarding the likes of Michael Ojo (7’1”) and Chris Koumadje (7’4”). That’s not really much of a recipe for success on the boards for the Buccaneers. The Seminoles length (and hopefully the commitment to team defense that they inconsistently showed last year) has the potential to frustrate Charleston Southern.

Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac are going to be a mismatch nightmare for their defenders, I think both of them should have tremendous games, as well as Ojo.

In my opinion, Florida State wins this one by 20 points or more, and the team starts off their season 1-0.

Dustin Lewis

Lead writer for NoleGameday. Majoring in English Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State University. Writer for FSView Sports and Hashtag Basketball.



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