2010-11 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Florida State

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(home games)
  • Date: Saturday, January 8, 2011
  • Time: 3pm
  • TV: ESPN2

ACC basketball will start heating up on Saturday when the Florida State
Seminoles come to Blacksburg to take on the Hokies in a 3pm game on ESPN2. With
a road trip to UNC looming, the Hokies can’t afford to start 0-2 in the ACC,
which makes tomorrow’s contest a huge game.

Florida State is 11-4 on the season, though their RPI sits at only 93rd. They
haven’t beaten anyone ranked in the top 100, and they suffered an embarrassing
loss in their last game at #326 Auburn 65-60. The Noles are already 1-0 in the
ACC though, with a 75-69 home win against Clemson back in December. They’ll look
to start 2-0 before welcoming Duke to the Leon County Civic Center.

The Seminoles suffered a tough loss in their recent tournament in Hawaii,
when starting power forward Xavier Gibson went out with a broken hand. The
6-11Gibson was a full-time starter for Florida State, and he and his 6.9 points
and 4.8 rebounds per game will be missed.

Without Gibson, the Noles have promoted Bernard James to the starting lineup.
Statistically speaking, this is an upgrade for FSU, as James averages more
points, rebounds and blocks per game than Gibson. However, it is certainly a
blow to frontcourt depth.

Florida
State Starting Lineup
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G Derwin Kitchen 6-4 204 Sr. 10.1 5.3
G Michael Snaer 6-5 205 So. 7.6 2.9
G Deividas Dulkys 6-5 195 Jr. 8.3 3.1
F Chris Singleton 6-9 220 Jr. 15.2 8.3
F Bernard James 6-10 240 Jr. 7.2 5.8

Florida State was hoping to be a more balanced inside-outside team this
season, and the development of sophomore guard Michael Snaer was critical. Snaer
averaged 8.8 points per game as a freshman last season, and looked like he had
the ability to develop into one of the ACC’s better scoring guards. He has good
size for a wing, and he can shoot the outside jumper as well as finish on the
inside.

However, this season has been a disappointment for Snaer so far. His scoring
has dropped to 7.6 points per game, and he is shooting only 34.6% from the
field. Florida State has the size and the defense on the inside, but they can’t
take the next step as a program until they get a guard who is a consistent
scorer.

FSU has been forced to score by committee, and senior guard Derwin Kitchen
has upped his scoring average to 10.1 points per game. Kitchen is also a good
rebounder, and he leads the Noles with 56 assists. He is shooting 50.5% from the
field, though he is only an average outside shooter.

Deividas Dulkys and Luke Loucks will also play in the backcourt for Florida
State. Dulkys is a solid scorer who is a 35.5% shooter from the outside. He has
developed into a consistent player for Leonard Hamilton. Loucks will run the
point at times when he is in the game. Despite playing just under 16 minutes per
game, he is second on the team with 33 assists.

The real strength of Florida State is in the frontcourt. They don’t have as
much depth with the loss of Xavier Gibson, but Chris Singleton is a talented
player who will likely play in the NBA one day. He has developed into a very
competent outside shooter, hitting 39.6% of his three-pointers. Singleton will
turn the ball over, as he leads the team with 41 turnovers on the year, but
overall he is Florida State’s best player by a wide margin.

Bernard James will join Singleton in the starting lineup, and he has the
ability to score and rebound. He also leads the team with 34 blocked shots,
while Singleton has 32. As a team, the Noles have blocked 105 shots this year,
which is first in the ACC. FSU’s rebounding margin of +8.1 is also tops in the
league.

The Noles are capable of bringing more height off their bench. Jon Kreft
(7-0, 260, Jr.) is a junior college transfer who has plenty of ability. He has
played in just six games because he wasn’t eligible for the first semester, and
he’s averaging 2.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. His playing time should
increase as the season progresses and he gets used to playing at the ACC level.

Terrance Shannon (6-8, 220, So.) and Okaro White (6-8, 195, Fr.) also play
minutes in the frontcourt for the Noles. White can shoot the ball effectively
from the perimeter, while you’ll find Shannon doing most of his work under the
basket.

Florida State certainly enjoys a size advantage on the inside against
Virginia Tech. However, the Hokies have the advantage in the backcourt. Erick
Green, Malcolm Delaney and Terrell Bell form a better trio than Derwin Kitchen,
Michael Snaer and Deividas Dulkys. The Hokies are a better ball handing team
with both Green and Delaney on the court. The Noles have turned the ball over
258 times this year. Their 17.2 turnovers per game is worst in the ACC. Look for
Tech to play some pressure defense and try to get in the passing lanes.

This game is all about tempo. The Hokies are the better transition team, and
if they can force turnovers and play good defense, they have an opportunity to
force their style of tempo. A fast paced game will play right into the hands of
Erick Green and Malcolm Delaney. On the other hand, if the Noles can turn this
into a halfcourt, slow tempo basketball game, they will have a major advantage
because of their size on the inside.

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