NoleGameday

FSU looks to end losing streak in ACC-B1G Challenge

Florida State will take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-0) on Monday, November 28th at 7.pm. The game will be held inside the Donald L. Tucker Center, and the matchup will be apart of the ACC-B1G Challenge.

FSU improved to 5-1 with a 72-61 win over Illinois back on Friday. That victory gave FSU a third place finish in the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament. Temple won the tournament after upsetting #19 West Virginia in the championship game.

The Seminoles haven’t won a game in the ACC-B1G Challenge since the 2007-2008 season, when they defeated Minnesota 75-61. That was over nine years ago, even better, this win was back in the Toney Douglas days for the Noles. Shaking off the losing streak with a win over Minnesota and advancing to 6-1 would be the preferred result, but it’s going to be quite the test.

The Golden Gophers come into Tallahassee with a 6-0 record, including wins over Arkansas and St. John’s. They average 80.7 points a game while holding opponents to a mere 66.5 points per game. Minnesota has held 5 of their 6 opponents under 40% shooting from the field, which is just an example of the tough defense they play under head coach Richard Pitino. The coaching staff and one current Seminole, Michael Ojo, have faced Pitino and the Gophers before. FSU was defeated by Minnesota twice during the 2013-2014 season. They played at Minnesota in the ACC-B1G Challenge and were defeated 71-61, and then faced Minnesota in the NIT Tournament semi-finals where they lost 67-64 in overtime. That game was highlighted by a buzzer beating three from Devon Bookert that sent the game into the extra period.

Minnesota is led by Amir Coffey, a 6’8″ freshman guard. He is averaging 15.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, two assists and one steal per game. Coffey has been a pleasant surprise for the Gophers, and he’ll need to have another big game to help drive his team to a win against a long and athletic Seminole defense. Including Coffey, the Gophers have four players averaging double figures in points and only seven players averaging double figures in minutes. The Gophers have a shorter rotation, so it’ll be interesting to see if the deeper rotation that FSU boasts can wear down Minnesota.

Dwayne Bacon leads the Seminoles with 18.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Bacon has worked on changing the mechanics in his jumpshot and it has showed throughout the early part of the season. Last year, his shot was very unreliable unless he was around the rim, this year, you’re actually expecting Bacon’s shots to go in. His three point percentage has jumped to 48.3% after he shot a paltry 28.1% during his freshman season. Bacon is a complete mismatch offensively when his jumper is falling.

Right behind Bacon is the freshman star Jonathan Isaac. He has impressed during his first few games as a Seminole. Isaac is averaging 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and one block per game. He had two great showings in Brooklyn, and he is on the way up. Every game, Isaac seems to look just a little bit more comfortable. I want to see him put the ball on the floor more offensively, he would be a huge mismatch taking people off the dribble right at the rim.

Only Bacon and Isaac currently average double figures in points on this squad. XRM is averaging 9.8 points per game. Six Noles are averaging 7.3 points per game or more. 11 Seminoles are playing double figures in minutes per game. This team is deep and very young, the more these young guys play, the better they’ll get faster.

Projected Starters:

– FSU

G: Xavier Rathan-Mayes

G: Dwayne Bacon

G: Terance Mann

F: Jonathan Isaac

C: Michael Ojo

– Minnesota

G: Nate Mason

G: Amir Coffey

G: Dupree McBrayer

F: Jordan Murphy

F: Eric Curry

Prediction:

Once again, FSU has a pretty huge size advantage over their opponent and that bodes well for the Seminoles. The extra length can help with shooting over players on offense and better chances at contesting shots or forcing turnovers on defense. The Noles are at their best when they’re forcing live ball turnovers and turning them into transition buckets, if they can create those kind of opportunities in this game, they’ll be setting themselves up to win it.

I think the extra depth that FSU plays will help wear down the shorter Minnesota rotation, eventually, that’ll be the difference late in the game. Noles win and snap their nine year ACC-B1G Challenge losing streak.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *