Syracuse 12-5 (1-3) hits the road for the second time this week to face #23 Florida State 12-4 (1-3).
Opponent: Florida State Seminoles
Location: Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, Tallahassee, FL
Date: Saturday, January 13
Time: 2:00pm ET
Watch: ACC Network or WatchESPN app
Line: Syracuse +6
Florida State’s resume isn’t very polished for the #23 team in the country
The Seminoles didn’t test themselves early as they played in the Jamaica Classic at Montego Bay and left with the tournament championship and wins over Fordham and Colorado State. Similar to Virginia, most people didn’t believe Florida State would make much noise this season as they were selected to finish 8th in the ACC. A win at #5 Florida in early December catapulted the Seminoles into the top 25 at #19 and they have been ranked either #23 or #24 in the weekly polls since.
Florida State has picked up 4 losses this season albeit 3 of those losses have come against quality ACC opponents. The Seminoles took #4 Duke town to the wire at Cameron Indoor in a 100-93 loss and lost at #15 Miami and at home against Louisville on Wednesday. Wednesday’s loss snapped a 28 game home winning streak for Florida State. The Seminoles other loss came against a solid Oklahoma State team in the Orange Bowl Classic in Fort Lauderdale in mid-December.
Florida State’s best win came at home against #12 North Carolina. Although an impressive win, North Carolina isn’t playing at the level they typically do as they lost to Wofford last month and were dominated by Virginia in a 61-49 loss last Saturday.
The Seminoles have lost 3 of their last 4 games and will be looking to start a new home winning streak on Saturday against the Orange.
Junior guard Terance Mann (pictured below) and senior guard Braian Angola lead the Seminoles this season. Mann has enjoyed a breakout year averaging 15.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He’s put up 25 points twice this season against Florida and on Wednesday against Louisville. Mann is shooting at an extremely efficient rate, 61.5%, good enough for 27th in the country. He’s not much of a 3 point threat and takes the majority of his shots inside the arc. In a big blow to the Seminoles, Mann has been ruled out for today’s game due to a concussion he suffered against Louisville. Angola is on a hot streak recently averaging 19.3 points per game in ACC play and is averaging 13.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He’s also shooting 41.8% from 3 point range.
As mentioned above, Florida State is very difficult to beat at home. Teams don’t just go to Tallahassee and steal a win from the Seminoles. Syracuse will need to bring their A game to come away with a victory. The last time Florida State lost 2 straight home games was February 2015 against Clemson and Duke. The Seminoles are also an impressive shot blocking team with 5.6 blocks per game which ranks them 19th in the nation. Junior center Christ Koumadje (pictured below) and freshman center Ike Obiagu both average 2.4 blocks per game. Koumadje is 7’4” and Obiagu is 7’. This will be the first game all season that Paschal Chukwu isn’t the tallest man on the floor.Embed from Getty Images
One of the Seminoles biggest weaknesses coming into this game is the play of senior forward Phil Cofer. Cofer is averaging 13 points and 5.6 rebounds per game but has really struggled recently. Over the course of the last three games, he is only averaging 6.3 points on 8-34 (23.5%) shooting. The Seminoles would welcome a bounce back game from Cofer on Saturday.
Leonard Hamilton (pictured below) took over the Florida State program in 2002 and has led the Seminoles to 11 postseason berths in 15 seasons. He’s the all-time winningest coach in Florida State history with a 294-200 record at the school. Hamilton and the Seminoles made their deepest run in the NCAA Tournament in 2011 when they reached the Sweet Sixteen. Forward Chris Singleton led Florida State that season with 13.1 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Syracuse vs. Florida State All-Time Series
Syracuse has owned the all-time series with a 7-2 record against Florida State. The teams played each other for the first time in 1990 at Orlando Arena. Forward Derrick Coleman led the Orange with 21 points and 12 rebounds in a 90-69 win. Syracuse upset #6 Florida State last year at the Dome behind 24 points from Andrew White in what was one of the Orange’s biggest wins of the season. Highlights from the game below:
Florida State protects home court and wins 71-70
The last time Syracuse started worse than 1-3 in conference play was during the 2015-16 season when the team started 0-4. The Orange advanced to the Final Four that season
Florida State ranks 48th in the RPI and Syracuse ranks 28th