The Daily Nole

Preview: FSU Has Short Turnaround to Face Loyola

Colin Abbey/FSU athletics

It may be too soon to call it the unthinkable, but Florida State made a grand statement on Monday night by pounding No. 5 Florida in Gainesville, 83-66. The Seminoles are 7-0 for the first time in nine years and will have just day off before looking to improve to 8-0 for the first time since head coach Leonard Hamilton’s second season.

The opponent on Wednesday night will be Loyola-Maryland. The Greyhounds are just 1-6 and without a win against a Division I school. It is worth noting that they did play Northwestern tough in the opener. Wednesday’s contest will be just the second meeting between the schools. FSU won 89-72 in the first meeting in the 1997 Preseason NIT.

Who: Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds (1-6) at Florida State Seminoles (7-0)
When: Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. EST (ACC Network Extra)
Where: Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida

Key Players

For Loyola: Sophomore guard Chuck Champion leads the Greyhounds, averaging 18.5 points per game, but has appeared in just a pair of contests. For most of the season, senior forward Cam Gregory has carried Loyola, averaging just shy of 17 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He has three double-doubles in seven games. Guards Andre Walker and Andrew Kostecka have combined to average more than 27 points per game, but each have missed the last two contests.

For Florida State: Junior Terance Mann is coming off a career performance and leads FSU, averaging nearly 17 points per game and ranks second on the team with 5.6 rebounds per contest. Senior forward Phil Cofer leads the team averaging 5.7 rebounds to go with 13.6 points. Sophomore guard C.J. Walker is averaging just shy of 12 points and has been outstanding over the last two games.

What to Watch For

Terance Mann: Florida State junior slasher Terance Mann responded from his worst performance of the season with the best effort of his career. In Monday’s 83-66 win over Florida, Mann finished with a career-high 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting. With FSU losing its top three scorers from last season, Mann has not been shy in becoming the go-to guy for the Seminoles. He’s doing so on an efficient 66 percent from the floor.

C.J. Walker: After a slow start to the season, C.J. Walker has turned it on in the last two games for the Seminoles. In road wins over Rutgers and Florida, Walker has averaged 20.5 points, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals. Walker seems to have found command of the offense and has scored in double-figures in four of his last five games.

Rebounding: As usual, Florida State should have a huge size advantage on Wednesday night. The Greyhounds don’t have a player taller than 6-foot-8 while the Seminoles are the third tallest team in the country. FSU hadn’t been great on the glass this season, but is coming off a performance in which it dominated Florida in the rebounding battle, 51-34. Loyola is outrebounding opponents by more than two boards per game.

M.J. Walker: Since a hot start to the season, freshman phenom M.J. Walker has really struggled of late. Walker is averaging just 3.3 points in his last three games and is shooting just 15 percent from the field and 2-for-9 from deep. Against an inferior opponent, Wednesday could be a chance for Walker to get his confidence back.

Number to Pay Attention To

8-0: With a win, Florida State would start the season 8-0 for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign — Leonard Hamilton’s second as head coach. It would be just the third 8-0 start since the 1988-89 season.

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

One Comment

  1. finance85

    December 6, 2017 at 7:43 am

    FSU should go 12-0 before the ACC schedule starts. The only game that should be contested is Oklahoma State. That will be a neutral site game in Sunrise at the Orange Bowl Classic. Oklahoma State is 7-1, and has beaten Pitt and a bunch of smaller schools. FSU should win, but can’t be complacent.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply