The Daily Nole

Preview: Seminoles Host Buccaneers to Open Season

Phil Kelly/FSU athletics

Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton enters his 15th season at Florida State looking to get the Seminoles back to the NCAA Tournament after a 4-year hiatus. FSU begins the new season Saturday on its home floor against Charleston Southern as the Seminoles look for a fourth straight season-opening victory.

The Buccaneers finished just 9-21 a season ago, but did play FSU fairly tough in last season’s contest in Tallahassee, falling 75-64. Dwayne Bacon finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in that FSU victory. The Seminoles wound up winning 20 games last season before being ousted in the second round of the NIT against Valparaiso.

The Match-Up

Who: Charleston Southern Buccaneers (0-0) at Florida State Seminoles (0-0)
When: Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. EST (ACC Network Extra)
Where: Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, FL

Key Players

For Charleston Southern: Guard Armel Potter returns after a productive freshman year in which he led the Buccaneers in scoring with nearly 14 points per game. Potter however, wasn’t the most efficient player, shooting just 39 percent from the floor. Potter was also the Buccaneers’ top assist man with better than three per game.

For Florida State: Dwayne Bacon, a sophomore, returns after leading the Seminoles with 15.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season. Bacon was an inconsistent jump-shooter, but an excellent athlete who could get to the basket. Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a redshirt junior, is the veteran of the team after averaging in double-figures scoring in each of the last two seasons and leading the team in assists. Jonathan Isaac, a 6-10 freshman forward, is expected to help the Seminoles immediately and in a big way.

What to Watch For

FSU newcomers: Florida State brings in six new faces this season as a part of a recruiting class that ranked in the top 15 nationally. Isaac is the headliner, but junior college transfer Braian Angola-Rodas and freshman guard Trenton Forrest are also expected to make an immediate impact.

Defense: Historically lauded for its defense under head coach Leonard Hamilton, FSU ranked just 13th in the ACC in fewest points allowed and field goal percentage defense. The Seminoles might be able to get away with lackadaisical defense against the likes of Charleston Southern, but if the effort isn’t there in ACC play, Florida State won’t return to the NCAA Tournament.

FSU depth: The Seminoles are not only bringing in six new faces, but they’re getting center Michael Ojo and forward Phil Cofer back from injury. Ojo and Cofer were two of FSU’s more physical players on the block prior to missing most of last season with injuries.

Number to Pay Attention To:

20: When Dwayne Bacon scored 20 or more points for the Seminoles last season, they were 9-1. When he didn’t, they were 11-13.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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