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Previewing Florida State: Seminoles slogging through another tough year

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How to watch or listen to the game

Tip time: 1:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Jan. 17

TV: ACC Network (Mike Gleason, Bobby Cremins)

Online streaming: ESPN3

Radio: Sirius 108, XM 94, Wolfpack Sports Network (affiliates)

FSU vitals

Record: 9-8 (1-3)
Pomeroy ranking: No. 135
RPI: No. 148
Wins vs. Pomeroy top-100: 1
Best win: Florida (No. 21 in Pomeroy Ratings)
Worst loss: Mississippi State (No. 235 in Pomeroy Ratings)

Adjusted tempo: 69.0 poss/40 minutes (ranks 39th)
Adjusted offensive efficiency: 101.3 (ranks 163rd)
Adjusted defensive efficiency: 99.2 (ranks 141st)

FSU @ StatSheet
FSU roster
FSU schedule
FSU 2014 stats / 2015 stats

The FSU offense and starters

FSU Offense -- Four Factors eFG% (National Rank) TO% OR% FT Rate
2013-14 51.7 (77) 21.4 (322) 34.8 (62) 45.6 (51)
2014-15 50.5 (98) 20.3 (224) 31.7 (156) 48.5 (12)

Florida State's season appears sunk already, and if that is the case, it'll be the third straight season the Seminoles have missed the NCAAs. The Noles are considerably worse on both ends of the floor than they were a year ago, but they are still huge. That's one thing you can always count on from Leonard Hamilton--he is going to have a bunch of tall dudes to throw at opponents.

Ham's trees have made FSU an efficient team inside the arc--the Noles are hitting 54.1% of their twos--it's just that the team is getting way-below-average contributions from the free throw line and three-point range. At the stripe, they're making only 65.3% of their attempts, and they're hitting only 26.9% of their threes. The latter figure ranks 342nd nationally.

That's where the roster attrition has done the most damage; FSU shot 38% from three last season on the shoulders of guys like Ian Miller, Okaro White, and Aaron Thomas. Miller and White graduated, while Thomas was ruled academically ineligible back in December. He was FSU's leading scorer at the time, though how much difference he'd have made to the larger picture is difficult to say. The Noles had some head-scratching losses before his suspension.

But no question his absence severely limited what FSU's offense is capable of producing from outside. Six players (including Thomas) have attempted at least 10 three-pointers, but only Devon Bookert (38.7%) is shooting better than 28%. Thomas was a 37% three-point shooter in 2013-14.

Toss in FSU's typical ball security problems and some mediocre offensive rebounding and you have an offense that can struggle badly for stretches.

Starters

Xavier Rathan-Mayes (6-4, 190) -- Rathan-Mayes might be a good jump shooter, but to this point in his freshman season, he hasn't proven it on the court, and at 17-74 (23%) from three, he's killin' this team. The good news is his efforts inside the arc have been good, and he's a 74.6% free throw shooter.

With the way the roster shook out, XRM is just kinda stuck. He's handling a heavy workload, probably heavier than would be preferable at this point in his career, but Hamilton is short on options. XRM is responding in positive ways, but the freshman growing pains are also obvious, sometimes painfully so.

Devon Bookert (6-3, 193) -- In 2+ seasons, Bookert is shooting 44.4% from three and 40.7% from two. This year, his 2FG% is a meager 31.8. So guess what you want to force this gentleman to do! Go on, I'll wait. Bookert's tendency to turn the ball over is another reason  to make him put it on the deck, though there's a fine line to walk since he's a fantastic free throw shooter.

Montay Brandon (6-8, 225) -- The Noles are getting a career year out of Brandon, who is making 59% of his twos. He will dabble from beyond the arc on occasion, but that's never been a strength of his. If he could improve his free throw shooting (64.9%), he would do a much better job of leveraging his high free throw rate.

Phil Cofer (6-8, 205) -- A rare member of the lineup not regularly plagued by turnovers. Cofer is also hitting 54% of his twos and grabbing a lot of offensive boards.

Boris Bojanovsky (7-3, 240) -- Ham can throw tri-towers at you if he wants, yet this never happens. I don't know why you recruit three seven-footers unless you are going to go a little crazy, for just a little while, and play them all at the same time. How does he resist that temptation? I would do it way too much and get fired after one season but it would be one amazing damned season, I tell ya. None of them would ever start, so about two minutes into every game, I could yell "Tri-towers assemble!" to send them in.

The FSU bench and defense

Reserves: Kiel Turpin (7-0, 240), Michael Ojo (7-1, 292), Jarquez Smith (6-9, 225), Robbie Berwick (6-4, 188), Dayshawn Watkins (6-0, 180).

FSU is getting nothing from from Berwick and Watkins, forcing Hamilton to lean heavily on XRM and Bookert in league play. Bookert is averaging nearly 39 minutes in conference games, while Rathan-Mayes (and Brandon) average 34. Berwick and Watkins log minutes to give those guys a few breaks and don't figure to make much difference to the bottom line.

In Berwick's case, it won't be for lack of trying. He's making the most of his time on the court, taking 22.7% of the shots while in the lineup. There is one small problem with that--namely his 39.7 eFG%. Watkins takes the opposite approach, deferring to anybody and everybody, while also managing to miss an unfortunate percentage of his field goal attempts.

Turpin and Ojo both are shooting well over 50% from two, but then, they damn well better be. They are capable offensive rebounders and turnovers can be a problem for both. Turpin is a total black hole, accounting for a ton of the team's shots with little regard for the rest of the team. He has one assist this season, and that came on Nov. 23.

FSU Defense -- Four Factors eFG% (National Rank) TO% OR% FT Rate
2013-14 45.4 (30) 18.9 (128) 35.8 (329) 36.2 (87)
2014-15 47.7 (135) 18.2 (252)
29.4 (102) 34.5 (128)

Okay, who broke Florida State's defense? During the Seminoles' run of four straight NCAA tourneys from 2009-2012, they never finished lower than 13th in defensive efficiency. Since then, they haven't had even a top-50 defense, and this year's edition is well outside the top 100.

Their block rate has slipped to 81st after a six-year run in the top 25, so it's not surprising that opponents have been more successful at converting two-point shots. The shame of this is FSU's defensive rebounding is the best it's ever been under Hamilton, and now opponents don't need to lean on second-chance opportunities as often.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by three.