Syracuse basketball opponent preview: What to know about Florida State

first_img Related Stories Jim Boeheim and Leonard Hamilton discuss Syracuse-Florida State matchup on ACC coaches teleconferenceSyracuse basketball roundtable: SU’s matchup with Florida State, its defense and Louisville’s postseason banOn the beat: Syracuse rides hot streak in conference play, Florida State preview How Syracuse beats Florida State: It might be cliché, but Syracuse’s experience will pay dividends if Gbinije and Cooney establish their own tempo without letting FSU’s high-powered freshmen get out and run. The key to SU’s recent hot streak has been its defense — it’s the first thing head coach Jim Boeheim notes every time he’s asked what’s improved since his return from suspension — and the Orange has held its last three opponents to an average of 61 points per contest. Slowing down Beasley and Bacon, most notably, should be the first piece to that equation again, along with another offensive rebounding exposé from Roberson to neutralize FSU on the defensive glass.Numbers to know:66 – Roberson has 66 more offensive rebounds this season than anybody on the Seminoles.0.7 – Less than one steal per game separates Syracuse (8.1) and Florida State (7.4), the top two teams in the ACC in terms of takeaways per game.5.8 – Bacon averages the most rebounds per game on Florida State with only 5.8 yet the Seminoles still rank fourth in the league in defensive rebounds per game.Player to watch: Bojanovsky is the type of player you don’t want to see staring you down on a drive to the rim. He only plays about 18 minutes per game, but he averages 1.65 blocks, six points and 4.2 rebounds per contest. He also shoots over 70 percent from the free-throw line and 51 percent from the field, rounding out an effective offensive arsenal to complement his defensive presence. Comments Syracuse (16-8, 6-5 Atlantic Coast) hosts Florida State (16-7, 6-5) on Thursday night riding a three-game winning streak in its recent home stand. The Orange has been carried by a backcourt of two fifth-year seniors while the Seminoles are led by a backcourt of two freshmen. FSU is on a four-game winning streak of its own and boasts one of the best offenses in the conference.Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup.All-time series: 5-1 in favor of SyracuseLast time they played: Riding a 13-point halftime lead, the Orange topped the Seminoles 70-57 in the Carrier Dome to begin ACC play 3-0 last season. Trevor Cooney led Syracuse with 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and a 7-for-11 mark from 3-point range. Rakeem Christmas and Michael Gbinije chipped in 14 and 11 points, respectively. Only two Seminoles scored in double figures — Xavier Rathan-Mayes (14) and 7-footer Boris Bojanovsky (10) — and both return this year. Florida State shot better from the field overall, but Syracuse shot a lights-out 58.8 percent from deep compared to a paltry 12.5-percent clip from behind the arc for the Seminoles.The Florida State report: On Monday’s ACC coaches’ teleconference, FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton stressed how challenging, yet rewarding, it’s been to mesh five first-year players into his rotation. Two of those, Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon, lead the Seminoles in scoring with 17.3 and 16.2 points per game, respectively. FSU is tied for fourth in the conference with 79 points scored per game and all nine of its rotation players see over 10 minutes per game with no player seeing over 30. Per Kenpom.com, the Seminoles’ average height is 78.9 inches, which is the third-highest in Division I. FSU center Bojanovsky is 7-foot-3 and will easily be taller than any player Syracuse has faced this season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFSU favors the 2-pointer, with 54.8 percent of its points coming from inside the arc. That ranks 49th in the country according to Kenpom, while the percentage of its points coming from 3-pointers ranks 292nd in the nation. Six players on the team shoot over .500 from inside the arc, so the top of Syracuse’s zone will have to be as stout as it has as of late. The Seminoles are also the league’s fourth best defensive rebounding team and the recently flourishing offensive rebounding tandem of Tyler Roberson and Tyler Lydon will be put to the test against a team with seven players who snag more than three rebounds per game on average. Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on February 9, 2016 at 5:38 pm Sam Maller | Staff Photographerlast_img

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