Jimbo Fisher may be long gone, but the Florida State men’s basketball team hasn’t received the memo that its a time of mourning in Tallahassee, as they are one of only six undefeated teams in college basketball. They sit at 9-0, which is the best start for the Seminoles since the 2003-2004 season.
On the other side, the Cowboys look to bounce back from a 78-66 loss to Wichita State a week ago. To make matters worse, Davon Dillard and Zack Dawson were both released from the team on Thursday after failing to meet team standards.
Let’s get to the preview.
Who: No. 19 Florida State Seminoles
Where: BB&T Center - Sunrise, Florida
When: December 16, 2017 - 1:00 p.m. CT
TV: Fox Sports 2
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network
Live Stats: okstate.statbroadcast.com
A familiar face for Cowboy fans is leading this unbeaten Noles squad in Leonard Hamilton. Hamilton got his head coaching start in Stillwater where he headed the program for four seasons (1986-90) and featured a young Bill Self on his staff. Hamilton sported an overall record of 56-63 during his time with in Stillwater.
This hot start for the Seminoles featured an impressive win against in-state rival, the No. 22 Florida Gators (Florida was No. 5 at the time of the meeting). The 83-66 victory has easily been the most impressive performance for FSU this season. Florida State’s length and athleticism caused several problems on both ends for the highly rated Gators.
The Noles are led by Terance Mann. After spending last season in the shadow of NBA lottery pick Jonathan Isaac, and second round pick Dwayne Bacon, Mann has blossomed as “the man” in Tallahassee. Mann is currently averaging an impressive 15.6 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game, and 2.8 assists per game, having also taken on a leadership role for the Noles after two seasons of coming off the bench.
Leading the way inside for the Noles is 6’8 Senior forward Phil Cofer. After being limited the past two seasons because of ankle and back injuries, Cofer has finally gotten the chance to prove himself while healthy. The big, physical forward is quite versatile, with a physicality that gives him the ability to matchup with most fours and fives at the college level. Cofer leads the team in rebounds with 5.8 boards a game.
Stats (courtesy of ESPN.com)
A Few thoughts on the Game
Saturday’s game marks the anticipated debut of St. Johns transfer Yankuba Sima. Sima, while with the team since the middle of last season, has not been eligible until now due to NCAA transfer rules. At 6’11, 225 pounds, I can’t remember the last time the Cowboys had someone of that size. Of course, I’ve seen plenty of guys come through Stillwater in basketball and football that looked like Tarzan and played like Jane so we’ll have to wait and see but it is worth noting he put up impressive numbers at St. Johns and has some nasty highlight videos online.
I feel like I should be more upset about the dismissals of Davon Dillard and Zack Dawson. While Davon was a key contributor last season and matched up well against physical Big 12 opponents, he seemed somewhat out of shape and not quite ready to contribute to this year’s team. If anything, I was more upset about the loss of Zack Dawson because man, was I excited for that guy’s future here. Of course, Boynton runs this ship so if these guys blew it, I’ll back our coach all day. I really hope these two guys land at other solid programs and have good careers because they are both clearly major division 1 talents.
The biggest key to this game is Jeffrey Carroll. Last week, the Cowboys had a couple of scoring droughts that allowed Wichita State to take control of the game despite playing exceptionally well on defense. Carroll is easily the most capable scorer on this team and needs to be a bucket getter when things start getting cold.
I think this is a winnable game for the Pokes but they have to post a complete game on offense. I’m not so sure the Seminoles are quite as good as their record indicates. They lost a lot from last year’s team and have really played a pretty soft schedule so far.