2012-13 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. FSU

, TechSideline.com, on February 22, 2013
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When: Sunday, February 24
Where: Cassell Coliseum
Time: 6pm
TV: ESPNU

Florida State visits Cassell Coliseum on Sunday night for a 6pm tip.  Losers of nine straight games, Virginia Tech is rapidly running out of chances to get another win before the 2012-13 season comes to a close.  Sunday night is arguably their best shot.

The Noles are the defending ACC Champs, but they have a lot of new faces this year.  They are just 14-12 overall, with a 6-7 record in the ACC.  FSU lost home non-conference games to South Alabama, Mercer and Auburn, not to mention losses to good teams such as Florida and Minnesota.

Things have stabilized a bit since ACC play began, but the Noles still haven’t been able to find themselves.  They have lost three of their last four games, including blowout losses to NC State and Wake Forest.  Their only win in that span was a narrow 69-66 victory over Boston College at home.

The Players

Nine different players have started games for Florida State this season.  After winning the ACC Tournament a year ago, the Noles lost a number of seniors.  Thus far Leonard Hamilton still hasn’t been able to find a lineup he likes.  Though he has a number of bodies to work with, this team just hasn’t been particularly good.

G Michael Snaer (6-5, 202, Sr.): Snaer is Florida State’s best player.  He averages 14.2 points per game, and he also leads the club with 62 assists while averaging 4.6 rebounds per game.  A 39.5% shooter from the outside, Snaer is known for his clutch shots at the end of games.  If this one goes down to the wire, look for FSU to get the ball in Snaer’s hands.

F Okaro White (6-8, 204, Jr.): A combo forward, White is a tough matchup.  He is an athletic player who can score inside, and he can also knock down the open outside jumper.  He has 29 blocks and 28 steals on the year, and is a very active player for the Noles.

G Ian Miller (6-3, 186, Jr.): Miller has had a disappointing season.  After averaging 10.3 points per game as a sophomore, he is down to just six points per game this season.  He’s having a tough shooting year, hitting just 36.5% of his jumpers.

G Aaron Thomas (6-5, 195, Fr.): Thomas averages 6.4 points per game as a rookie in the ACC.  He’s only a 20% outside shooter, and he averages 17.5 minutes per game.

G Terry Wisnant (6-3, 185, So.): Wisnant has started 19 games for FSU, and he’s shooting 37.2% from three-point range.  He’s averaging 5.8 points per game.

G Devon Bookert (6-3, 185, Fr.): Bookert has started three games for FSU this season, and he’s shooting 50% from three-point range.  He is the type of player who can get hot against Virginia Tech’s poor three-point defense.

C  Kiel Turpin (7-0, 240, r-Jr.): Turpin has the size of a typical FSU big man, though he averages just five points and 2.7 rebounds per game.  He leads the team with 32 blocks.

G Montay Brandon (6-7, 216, Fr.): Brandon is a big wing who has started 22 games this year.  He averages just four points per game, but he has the type of length that Leonard Hamilton likes on the wing for defensive purposes.

C Boris Bojanovsky (7-3, 240, Fr.): The freshman from the Slovak Republic is getting 11.2 minutes per game.  His height can have an impact defensively, but he is limited on the offensive end.

C Michael Ojo (7-1, 290, Fr.): Ojo averages just 5.7 minutes per game, and despite his size he shoots just 22.7% from the field.

Leonard Hamilton has his typical huge team, but this year they lack experience.  Outside of Snaer and White,they’ve also lacked offensive punch.  They have some guys who have shot well from the outside, but the overall performance of the team has been very inconsistent.

Ten In a Row?

Florida State isn’t very good, but let’s face it, neither is Virginia Tech.  The Hokies have lost nine in a row, and now they are facing an FSU team that is 4-8 against Tech since ACC expansion back in 2004.  Fortunately this game is in Cassell Colisuem, where Tech has beaten the Noles three times.

These teams faced each other twice last season, with FSU winning 48-47 in Tallahassee and 63-59 in Blacksburg.  Both games could have gone either way, but the Hokies couldn’t get it done in the final minutes against the bigger, more experienced Noles.

The way I see it, Tech only has two real chances to get wins the rest of the year.  This game on Sunday night, and in their home finale in Clemson.  At this point in the year, it’s about pride.  Hopefully we see the Hokies play with some pride and toughness against the Noles.

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