The Daily Nole

Preview: FSU Looks to Start New Streak vs. Syracuse

FSU athletics

Florida State’s 28-game home winning streak came crashing down in heartbreaking fashion on Wednesday night as it let a 17-point lead slip away in a 73-69 loss to Louisville. FSU won’t have an extended break before returning to action as the Seminoles will look to start a new home winning streak against Syracuse on Saturday afternoon.

Syracuse comes in on a 3-game losing streak and will look for its first ACC road win of the season. The Orange defeated FSU last season in the Carrier Dome, 82-72, thanks to a hot start and a big day from Andrew White. Since joining the ACC for the 2013-14 season, the Orange are 4-1 against the Seminoles.

The Match-Up

Who: Syracuse Orange (12-5, 1-3 ACC) at No. 23 Florida State Seminoles (12-4, 1-3 ACC)
When: Saturday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. EST (ACC Network)
Where: Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida

Key Players

For Syracuse: Sophomore guard Tyus Battle carries the offensive load for Syracuse, averaging better than 19 points per game. Frank Howard, a junior guard, averages 15.6 points and a team-high 5.5 assists while shooting better than 38 percent from three. Freshman forward Oshae Brissett averages better than 15 points and a team-best 9.7 rebounds per game.

For Florida State: After a big night against Louisville, Terance Mann continues to lead the Seminoles in three different key categories. Mann averages better than 15 points per game, 6.2 rebounds and is shooting nearly 62 percent from the field. Braian Angola, a senior guard, averages 13.6 points per game and leads the team in steals and 3-pointers made while ranking second on the squad at 3.2 assists per game. Phil Cofer, a senior forward, scores 13 points per game, grabs 5.6 rebounds and shoots 50 percent from the field.

What to Watch For

The FSU offense vs. the Syracuse zone: Florida State let a big lead slip away on Wednesday night in a loss to Louisville and Cardinals’ head coach Dave Padgett credited the switch to a zone for the reason for Louisville’s second-half success against the Seminoles. Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse teams have been known for playing a stifling 2-3 zone defense. FSU did a decent job adjusting to it in the second half of last season’s contest, but shot just 38 percent for the game and was held to just 26 points in the first half.

Braian Angola: Senior guard Braian Angola continues to be Florida State’s leading scorer in ACC play. Angola finished with 18 points in Wednesday night’s loss and hit a couple of big 3s late in the game. In ACC play, Angola averages 19.3 points per game. At 6-foot-6, Angola is a tough match-up and a the team leader in steals at 1.7 per game. Getting some of those on Saturday could allow FSU to get out and run and avoid having to try to penetrate the Syracuse zone.

3-point shooting: After a hot start to ACC play from deep, Florida State has cooled off. In back-to-back losses to Miami and Louisville, the Seminoles have managed to shoot just 27 percent from deep over those two games. In the second half on Wednesday, FSU did not make a triple until the final 1:30 of the game. As a team, the Orange are shooting just 31 percent from deep with Howard leading the team in percentage and Battle in makes.

Phil Cofer: After a hot start, Florida State senior forward Phil Cofer has gone cold over the last three games. In a win over North Carolina and losses to Miami and Louisville, Cofer is averaging just 6.3 points and shooting a dreadful 24 percent after an efficient start. At 6-8, Cofer’s biggest strength this season has been being able to stretch the floor via the 3-ball and outside jumper. From distance over the last three games, Cofer is just 3-for-15. It is worth noting that he did lead the Seminoles with 10 rebounds his last time out.

Number to Pay Attention To

13: That’s the average margin of victory for Syracuse in its four wins over FSU since joining the ACC. The Orange haven’t won by fewer than 10 points in any of those meetings. The lone Florida State victory came by a 78-73 margin in March 2016.

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

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply