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Previewing Florida State

FSU Scouting Report

Florida State Offense 05-06Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%55.410Turnover Rate22.0201Off Reb Rate34.934.9FTM/FGA30.824
A more efficient offense has been the reason behind FSU's improvement from a sub-.500 team in 2005 to one that has a realistic shot at an NCAA tourney bid in 2006. The Noles had an OFF EFF around 102 last season, good enough for 120th in the country. So far this season, their OFF EFF has improved to 113 (ranking 27th nationally). FSU has become one of the best shooting teams in the country, and it has also markedly improved its OR% and FTM/FTA ratio.

Not surprisingly, such an impressive improvement in the offense has been facilitated by the increased efficiency of nearly every major contributor on the roster. Especially important is the improvement this year's starters have made, as Leonard Hamilton has been given more reliable options at the guard spot...

Player / 2005 O Rtg / 2006 O Rtg

Alexander Johnson / 83 / 103
Jason Rich / 94 / 108
Todd Galloway / 92 / 103
Isaiah Swann / 81 / 105

None of those 2006 numbers are great, but they represent a meaningful step up from awful to serviceable. Given the lack of efficiency at guard last year, it's surprising to me that FSU didn't lean on Von Wafer more heavily. Wafer only played about 60% of the team's minutes. Galloway and his poor O Rtg--for lack of options at the point--led the 2005 Seminoles in minutes played.

The Noles won't do much damage from outside--only Maryland has a lower 3FGA/FGA ratio in ACC games. In conference, the Noles have averaged an OFF EFF around 107, which ranks 6th and is a bit above the conference average (105). FSU's in-conference shooting (54.1%) ranks third. NC State (57.7%) ranks first.

I'm concerned that FSU's biggest offensive weakness (turnovers) matches up with NC State's biggest defensive weakness (forcing turnovers). It's important to force mistakes out of good shooting teams like FSU in order to deny them attempts at the basket.

Probable Starters (unless otherwise noted, numbers are conference-only):

Todd Galloway (5-11, 178) -- Second on the team in %Min, Galloway continues to handle a lot of PG duties but still struggles with turnovers: his TO% is over 30%. Shoots the ball decently well, but shouldn't factor into the offense very much (his usage is under 15%). Galloway is a selective three-point shooter, but a good one. He has made 40% (10-25) of his attempts; his season average is also 40% (21-53).

Isaiah Swann (6-1, 197) -- Fourth on the team in field goal attempts, Swann is shooting 51.2%. He leads the team in three-point attempts (33) and has made 36.4% of them (which is up from his 34.3% season average). He'll be pretty involved--only Johnson and Thornton have higher usages.

Jason Rich (6-3, 185) -- One of three starters (Galloway & Thornton are the others) averaging over 30 MPG. He won't turn the ball over much, and he also operates mostly inside of the arc (only 13 of his 97 FGAs are threes).

Al Thornton (6-7, 208) -- Has a usage of 26.5% and an O Rtg of 113. He boasts a turnover rate below 17%, and his eFG% (55.8%) is the best among the starters. Thornton averages 22.8 pts/40, which ranks 6th in the ACC. Oh, and he rebounds well, too. [Who's going to guard Thornton? Evtimov = pwnt. Gavin?]

Alexander Johnson (6-10, 250) -- Johnson was terrible with the ball last season, posting a turnover rate over 28%. He's got that down to a more bearable 22% in ACC games this year, and he has improved his field goal shooting by nearly nine percentage points.

Bench:

Leonard Hamilton likes to get erebody involved; nine guys have played in all of FSU's conference games. The minutes are spotty for the bench, though. It is depth, yes, but it is not so much quality depth.

Andrew Wilson (6-6, 206), as you might have noticed, is lighting fools up. But that's only by being extremely selective (he is taking 3.5 shots/game). If it seems like Wilson has been in Tallahassee for the better part of a decade, it's because he has. I bet he pines for the glory days of the Bobby Sura era.

Diego Romero (6-10, 240) has been excellent in a miniscule role (%Poss below 10%). He and Wilson have been seeing the most minutes (15-20) off of the bench.

Ralph Mims (6-2, 200), Jerel Allen (6-4, 195), and possibly Uche Echefu (6-9, 220) will get the leftover minutes.

Florida State Defense 05-06Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%49.7173Turnover Rate26.77Off Reb Rate31.9159FTA/FGA35.9168
FSU is league-average in defensive efficiency, giving up about 105 pts/100 poss (nearly identical to NC State's DEF EFF, in fact).

Interestingly, the Noles have allowed conference foes to rebound 37% of their misses--the fourth-highest (i.e., fourth-worst) mark among ACC teams.

Their perimeter defense also appears lacking.