What to Expect from FSU Basketball Exhibition Games

Florida State has two exhibition games this preseason: Barry University (Oct 22) and Columbus State (Nov 1). Although both opponents are Division II schools and neither count towards FSU’s record, there is still a reason to be excited. It means Florida State Basketball is almost back. Instead of doing a long preview for each team, we’ll just do a shorter preview of both in this article.

Exhibition games give the Florida State coaching staff experience with new and different lineups, so if you’re expecting the starters to get a ton of minutes in either game, it likely won’t happen. This is for the inexperienced and new players to gain some confidence and experience in a new system. The starting lineup for these games is not guaranteed to be the starting lineup for the season, as last preseason, RaiQuan Gray started against Valdosta State in place of an injured Phil Cofer, but PJ Savoy would instead start the first few games.

Also, if you’re out of the Tallahassee area and want to watch, you better hope someone live-streams from their phone, because these games will not be broadcasted or streamed through the university. The team wants to keep as many things a secret as they can, and most other teams won’t stream their exhibition games as well. If you’re in the Tallahassee area, please try and go to both games.

The first game against Barry University is for the Aubrey Boyd Foundation. Boyd played for the team from 1988-1991, but was badly injured in a car accident, breaking his 4th vertebrate and leaving him as a paraplegic. Admission is free, but Florida State is encouraging people to donate at the ticket box office at the arena for the Foundation.

The second game against Columbus State is the day before the Miami football game, when a lot of people will be coming into town for the game anyway. Once again, admission will be free, so take the family to watch some FSU Basketball.

Barry University Preview

Barry is led by head coach Butch Estes, who has been with the program since 2013-14, leading them to 3 conference titles, 5 national tournament runs, and 2 Elite 8’s. Last season was their worst season under Estes, finishing 18-11, and missing the D2 tournament for the first time with Estes as the coach. Estes has also coached at Furman and Presbyterian.

Barry’s top returning scorer is 6’6″ forward Tyland Birts, a senior who averaged 12.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest last season. He was named to the Sunshine State Conference Newcomer Team, after spending his first two seasons at Sante Fe College in Gainesville, FL. No other returning player averaged double digits in points or more than 3.3 rebounds.

Their newcomers include Jake Kakar (Barton College), Toru Dean, Raivis Scerbinskis (Winthrop), Tomas Mikyska, and Chris Mejia (Southeastern Louisiana). For a Division 2 program, they aren’t that undersized comparatively. No one is taller than 6’10”, but they do have six players 6’6″ and above, and three more listed at 6’4″ or 6’5″. Their tallest player is 6’9″ Johannes Dolven, who spent time with current Seminole Dominik Olejniczak at Drake University, playing together in the 2015/16 season (Olejniczak was a freshman, Dolven was a redshirt).

A season ago, Barry only played one Division 1 opponent, a 30-point exhibition loss to Miami. Barry should be a much better team this season, if Coach Estes’ history has anything to say about it, but Florida State is also a much better team than Miami was a season ago. This should be a fairly easy win.

Columbus State Preview

Columbus State is coming off two straight losing seasons, going 13-16 last season and 9-17 the season before. They enter their 10th season under head coach Robert Moore, who has led them to the national tournament four times during his tenure.

They return their top three leading scorers from a season ago, all averaging double-points; Bryant Givens (15.6), Landrius Horton (15.4), and Jalen Thomas (11.4), Horton was their leading rebounder with 9.4 rebounds per game, and Givens led the team in assists with 6 assists per game.

The tallest player on the roster is 6’8″, and have ten players listed at 6’3″ or shorter (FSU’s shortest scholarship player is Trent Forrest at 6’4″). They’re much smaller than Barry University, and will probably be the shortest team FSU plays all season. If the coaches were to experiment with RaiQuan Gray or Malik Osborne at Center, this game is a perfect game to do it.

Columbus State doesn’t have listed if they’ve played any exhibition games against Division-1 opponents in recent years or not, but I know Florida State played them a few years ago, just can’t find any record of it happening. They should improve upon last season’s team, but nothing to beat FSU. This will be a nice tune-up game before Florida State hits the road five days later to take on Pittsburgh.

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