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What UVA Basketball fans need to know about Florida State

fsuFlorida State was the last team to beat the 2019 national champs. Remember that one?

It was the ACC Tournament, semifinal round. The Seminoles jumped out to a double-digit lead early, Virginia fought back to four at the half, it would get to one early in the second half, but Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome would shoot a combined 7-of-21 from the floor in what turned into a 69-59 loss.

Ho, hum. The Cavaliers would win their next six and cut down nets in Louisville and then ultimately Minneapolis.

Guy, Jerome and De’Andre Hunter are in the NBA now.

Florida State also lost guys: Phil Cofer, Terrance Mann, Christ Koumadje, David Nichols, Mfiondu Kabengele.

But coach Leonard Hamilton just reloads, the way he does things down in Tallahassee.

Hamilton uses guys: last year, he had 11 guys averaging double-digit minutes, and this year, he has nine, with three others at eight minutes per.

It’s not a star system with Hamilton, but rather strength-by-numbers. Which allows for more continuity season to season.

It can also mean that things break down a bit in March, because a system that doesn’t focus on star power by definition lacks a guy who is a go-to guy in crunch time.

But it’s hard to argue with the results for Hamilton at FSU, whose teams were 225-120 over the past 10 full seasons, with two Sweet Sixteens and an Elite Eight, and one ACC Tournament title.

It’s repeatable, like a good golf swing.

This year’s ‘Noles

FSU is off to a 14-2 start, after an increasingly inexplicable season-opening loss at Pitt, and a double-digit loss at Indiana in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in December.

Most impressive among the wins was the 13-point takedown of Louisville in the Yum! Center on Jan. 4.

The first-among-equals to this point is 6’7” sophomore forward Devin Vassell (12.3 ppg, 4.8 rebs/g, 49.0% FG, 37.0% 3FG).

A familiar name for UVA fans is 6’4” senior guard Trent Forrest (12.2 ppg, 3.9 assists/g, 46.8% FG, 33.3% 3FG).

The third of the FSU Big 3 would be 6’5” junior guard M.J. Walker (11.6 ppg, 38.5% FG, 36.2% 3FG).

One thing about this Florida State roster: there are eight guys who shoot 30 percent or better from three.

The team shoots a modest 33.9 percent from three overall, but it can be an issue for opponents in that the shots can come from so many guys.

Another thing about this FSU team: it’s big. Per, the average height on the floor is 79.1”, 6’7” and change, first nationally.

It’s not so much that they’re that big at any one position. The biggest guy getting regular minutes is 6’9” sophomore Malik Osborne (6.4 ppg, 5.2 rebs/g, 48.2% FG, 40.0% 3FG).

It’s more that: they’re big across the board.

Forrest, at 6’4”, is the smallest guy getting regular minutes.

It’s just wave after wave after wave of similarly-sized, very athletic guys coming at you for 40 minutes.

Inside the Numbers

  • Tempo: 69.6 possessions per game (KenPom: 150)
  • Offensive Efficiency: 1.098 pts/100 possessions (KenPom: 28)
  • Defensive Efficiency: 0.886 pts/100 possessions (KenPom: 17)

Story by Chris Graham

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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