The Daily Nole

FSU Wraps Up NIT Season Tip-Off with Two in Brooklyn

Mike Olivella/FSU athletics

Florida State’s hot start has the Seminoles ranked in the AP Poll for the first time in more than four years, but the hurdles for staying that way will be a little higher as FSU will finally play games outside of the Tallahassee.

The Seminoles will be at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn for games Thursday and Friday to conclude the NIT Season Tip-Off. FSU hit the century mark in the first two games of the tournament — beating both Winthrop and Detroit Mercy. The No. 25 Seminoles will play Temple at 12:30 p.m. EST on Thursday and then either Illinois or 19th-ranked West Virginia on Friday in either a consolation game of the NIT Season-Tip Off final.

The Match-Ups

Who: No. 25 Florida State Seminoles vs. Temple Owls (2-2), vs. No. 19 West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0) or Illinois Fighting Illini (4-1)
What: NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinals and Championship or Consolation Game
When: Thursday, Nov. 24 at 12:30 p.m. EST (ESPNU), Friday, Nov. 25 at TBA (ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU)
Where: Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York

Key Players

For Florida State: The dynamic duo of Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac has paced the Seminoles so far this season. Bacon leads the team, averaging 17.5 points per game on 48 percent shooting. Isaac was named ACC Freshman of the Week on Monday. For the year, Isaac is averaging 14.5 points and a team-high 6 rebounds while shooting better than 56 percent from the floor.

For Temple: Obi Enechionyia, a 6-10 junior forward, has paced the Owls, averaging 20.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game — all team-highs. He’s done it on a 51 percent field goal rate and has shot at a 50 percent clip from beyond the arc. 6-7 senior guard Daniel Dingle is averaging better than 15 points per contest and a team-high 3.5 assists per game.

For West Virginia: Senior forward Nathan Adrian has been the guy to watch for the Mountaineers this season. A 6-9 big body, who can play inside or out, Adrian is leading the team by averaging better than 13 points, an even eight rebounds and more than four assists per game. Javon Carter, Lamont West, Esa Ahmad and Teyvon Myers are all averaging in double-figures scoring.

For Illinois: Senior guard Malcolm Hill is averaging nearly 21 points and eight rebounds per game. Four other players are averaging in double-figures scoring for the Fighting Illini, including point guard Tracy Abrams, who is averaging 12.8 points, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals. Abrams is doing that on 63 percent shooting and better than 73 percent from beyond the arc.

What to Watch For

How FSU handles tall, skill players: The Seminoles have faced a couple teams this season with big, capable guards, but the overall disparity in total size will drastically drop over the two games in Brooklyn. Guys like Enechionyia for Temple, Adrian for West Virginia and Hill for Illinois are all tough covers who can play inside or out.

How FSU finishes: Florida State is off to a 4-0 start, but the Seminoles have yet to be really tested down the stretch of any game. The average margin of victory for FSU this season is nearly 22 points. FSU hasn’t been involved in a single contest that was within single digits with less than eight minutes to play this season.

3-point shooting: Getting the outside shots to fall has been perhaps the Achilles’ heel for the Seminoles this season. As a team, FSU is shooting less than 28 percent from beyond the arc, which ranks just 323rd out of 351 teams nationally. Their last time out against Detroit Mercy, the Seminoles were just 1-for-14 from deep.

Trent Forrest: Fellow freshman Jonathan Isaac has stolen the show for Florida State, but guard Trent Forrest looks to be a really strong building block for Coach Leonard Hamilton’s team. Forrest is shooting nearly 70 percent from the field early on and has shown the ability to score, rebound, pass and defend. His last time out against Detroit Mercy, Forrest finished with 12 points, five assists and four steals.

Number to Pay Attention To

100: For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Seminoles have scored 100 points in back-to-back games. The Seminoles haven’t scored 100 points in three straight games since February 1987. Under Hamilton, FSU is 6-0 when hitting the century mark.

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

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