Virginia Tech (14-7, 5-5) faces a stiff challenge when they host No. 5 Florida State (17-3, 7-2) in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The Seminoles had won 10 games in a row until their defeat at the hands of UVA in Charlottesville on Tuesday.
Florida State under Leonard Hamilton is known for size. In fact, the Seminoles rank No. 1 in the country this year in average height, while the Hokies rank No. 343 out of 353 teams. If there were ever a game where Virginia Tech needed to get very hot from the outside to have a chance to win, this is it.
Here’s the starting lineup that Hamilton used against UVA…
G Trent Forrest (6-4, 210, Sr.): 11.5 ppg, 84 assists, 38 steals
G MJ Walker (6-5, 213, Jr.): 11.1 ppg
G Devin Vessel (6-7, 194, So.): 13.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 21 blocks
F Malik Osborne (6-9, 225, r-So.): 5.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg
F RaiQuan Gray (6-8, 260, r-So.): 6.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Florida State, as usual, also has a deep bench, with Hamilton using 10 different players in the rotation against UVA. Balsa Kopriva (7-1, 260, Fr.) will come off the bench, and his height could give the Hokies plenty of trouble. Dominik Olejniczak (7-0, 260, r-Sr.) is another 7-footer who comes off the bench. Most Leonard Hamilton teams look the same, and this one is no different.
Florida State’s length makes them very difficult to play against, and they are especially sound on the defensive end of the court. Here are some of their important metrics, per Ken Pomeroy…
Adjusted Def. Efficiency: No. 26
Effective FG% Defense: No. 87
Opp. Turnover %: No. 4
Block %: No. 1
Steal %: No. 4
The Seminoles length and overall athleticism allow them to force a ton of turnovers, and the Hokies haven’t been strong with the ball over the last two games.
Here are some FSU numbers on the offensive end…
Adj. Off. Efficiency: No. 44
Effective FG%: No. 64
3-Pt. %: No. 73
FT%: No. 25
The Seminoles aren’t dominant offensively, but they are balanced. However, they are only No. 153 in turnover percentage, so if the Hokies want an opportunity to pull the upset, they need to win the turnover battle. Tech is coming off consecutive road losses to Boston College and Miami, and have lost three out of four games overall.