Run The Floor’s FSU Vs. UMass Preview
What happens when a team that turns the ball over (279th in the nation) meets a team who’s specialty is forcing turnovers (14th)? Ugly basketball. Leonard Hamilton’s teams have never taken care of the ball (only twice in the top-200 in his 10 years at FSU) but this year has been special. They’re coughing it up on 25.2% of their trips, which is worst of his tenure. Especially frustrating for fans is that FSU is finally shooting the ball well (55.9 eFG%) and is relentless on the offensive glass, grabbing 44.8% of their own misses. So on possessions when they don’t turn it over they’re averaging 1.49 points per possession. For comparison, Duke – who has an elite offense – is averaging 1.41 per trip that doesn’t end in a turnover.
The Seminoles distribute the ball well (have four players in double figures), though Bernard James can be the difference maker. The senior center – who led the ACC in FG% last season, is converting 78.3% of his shots and has added a array of post moves to his game. He also only has a G.E.D and spent 6-years in the Air Force, which you might hear about 84 times during the tournament (admittedly, his story is a great one).
UMass is coming off an impressive dismantling of Boston College. 5’9 Chaz Williams (transfer from Hofstra) is averaging 17.3 a game. Williams has shot the 3-ball well (42%), but also – and surprisingly – has flourished inside the arc, knocking down 53% on his 2s. He’s also one of two players averaging at least 2.3 steals per game. Another player to watch is junior Terrell Vinson. After injuries marred his sophomore season, he’s back with added strength and is averaging 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds.
But UMass really wins or loses on the defensive end. Derrick Kellogg’s offense is fine, but not overly impressive, and his defense has the opportunity to be the best in the Atlantic 10. They’re active on the interior, blocking 20.7% of their opponents’ shots. They’re active on the wings, limiting their opponents to 23.4% 3-pt shooting. And, as noted earlier, they disrupt possessions. A lot.
Prediction: UMass 66, FSU 64
[Via Run The Floor]