The Daily Nole

Preview: FSU Hosts No. 19 Purdue in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Mike Olivella/FSU athletics

One of the most important non-conference games on Florida State basketball’s schedule will take place Wednesday night.

A top-20 Purdue Boilermakers team comes to Tallahassee as part of the annual ACC/Big Ten conference challenge. Each team holds a 5-1 record and has aspirations of NCAA Tournament runs in March.

Florida State already has one victory over a ranked opponent in the LSU Tigers, but the Seminoles need to rack up as many wins as they can before ACC play begins. Much of the same can be said for Purdue and the Big Ten, as the Boilermakers have only faced one ranked opponent (Virginia Tech) and lost. No matter how you slice it, each team knows that this game could boost their resume come 2019.

The Match-Up

Who: No. 19 Purdue Boilermakers (5-1) at No. 15 Florida State Seminoles (5-1)
What: ACC/Big Ten Challenge
When: Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 9:15 p.m. EST (ESPN2)
Where: Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida

Key Players

For Purdue
Carsen Edwards, G (Jr.): 25.3 PPG, 4.2 APG, 3.2 TPG
Ryan Cline, G (Sr.): 14.3 PPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 SPG
Matt Haarms, C (So.): 8.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.8 BPG

For Florida State
Terance Mann, G (Sr.): 12.8 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.2 APG
Mfiondu Kabengele, F (So.): 11.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 0.5 SPG
Christ Koumadje, C (So.): 7.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.3 BPG

What to Watch For

Dealing With Size: More so than any other team Florida State has faced, Purdue has size across the board. So much that it even holds the advantage that FSU typically possesses. Two of its guards (Cline and Nojel Eastern) are around 6-foot-6, forward Grady Eifert is 6-6, and center Matt Haarms is 7-3. Not surprisingly, the Boilermakers control the boards and rank highly in total rebounding percentage. Expect to see a lot of Mfiondu Kabengele and Christ Koumadje for this game. The absence of Phil Cofer makes this a true weakness if the FSU starters get into foul trouble. They simply do not have the production from the bench yet to counter what Purdue brings.

Frustrating Carsen Edwards: Edwards has improved each season of his college career, and it’s all coming together for a monster junior outing. He is a high-volume, ball-dominant scorer who loves to pull up from behind the arc and force defenses to come out to him. Edwards is shooting 41 percent from 3-point range and averages over four assists per game. That being said, he can also be inefficient and commit turnovers at a damaging pace. Virginia Tech did that against him earlier this year, when it forced six turnovers and squeaked out a victory over the Boilermakers.

Slow Starts: Florida State has had back-to-back contests where the Seminoles more or less sleepwalked through the first half. Against LSU, it required an overtime victory that came down to the final shot. It did not work out favorably against Villanova, who were able to come out on top down the stretch. Florida State needs better starts from its known quantities in Terance Mann and Trent Forrest, who have both disappeared for the first 20 minutes of games. It would also be nice if P.J. Savoy could rekindle his hot streak from deep.

Number to Pay Attention To

4: That is where Purdue ranks nationally in offensive rebounding percentage. The Boilermakers thrive on second-chance points and forcing opponents to exert energy on the offensive boards. Florida State needs to maintain focus and prevent them from getting easy points.

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