Florida State basketball preview!

#10 R.P.I. Florida State #1o2 R.P.I. Virginia Tech: 

Virginia Tech men’s basketball is on something of at least a visiting schneid of late. Having dropped two straights in the always treacherous waters of All Coaching Conference road games.

The Hokies now, however, return home to the hopefully more placid Duck Pond waters when they host #5 nationally-ranked Florida State on Saturday. This is, however, no small ask vs. the typically skyscraping visitor. As F.s.u. checks in at a shiny looking 17 up and merely 3 down for the season. Or in a tie for second-place in-conference terms; (.778 in A.c.c. play). As the Seminoles have only been beaten once since the very initial days of December of last year. (i.e. their last time out vs. defending National Champion hooVa 56-61 the ‘rong way). Nonetheless, what you wanna know is who is gonna win and by how much; right? So, read on; to find… out!

Florida State Head CoachJames Leonard Hamilton: age=71, 570–429 (.571) overall, 370–219 (.628) at Florida State.

Baller Hamilton played college basketball at the University of Tennessee at Martin; where he had the tag of an outburst scorer (55 max’, their all-time single-game mark).

Who does coach Leo’ look like to you?
The Predator Gatling Gun guy; a, little?

After this Leo’ went into coaching and won the 1978 NCAA Championship under old-school Coach Joe B. Hall at Kentucky. He is a two-time A.c.c. Coach of the Year (2oo9, 2o12) and he is also the first coach to be named coach of the year in both the Big East (Miami Hurricane, 1995, 1999), and the A.c.c. His teams have qualified for seven NCAA tournaments and eight N.I.T.’s. He was the old-school U.P.I. National Coach of the Year in 1995 for da U; and he has won two conference championships (1 B.E., 1 A.c.c.).

Coach Leo’ is the Winningest Coach in Florida State History (27o wins) and the 8th all-time Winningest Coach in A.c.c. History (27o wins). He also coached one season for the Washington Bullet’s, though was un-retained by #45 M.J. himself. Leo -a Master’s degree holder his ownself- is an ace coach in the FSU.edu and former classrooms as more than 94%t of his players have earned their degrees. Bravo Leo! And the Coach Hamilton coaching tree has already sired eight other D-1 men’s head coaches. Very Pat Riley ‘esque; as Coach Hamilton teams’ have enjoyed a stinging defensive rep’ for many years.

Hamilton’s induction into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame marks the fifth Hall of Fame he will be a member of during his illustrious career. He is also a member of the Austin Peay State University, the University of Tennessee at Martin and University of Miami Athletic Hall of Fames.  Hamilton received the 2015 Alumnus of Distinction award from Gaston (N.C.) College at its 50th Anniversary Gala on May 16, 2015.

Leo.edu earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Tennessee-Martin in 1971 and received his Master’s Degree in Physical and Health Education from Austin Peay State in 1973.

As to me… this is an underrated all-’round roundball coach here, men.

Daddy Leo’ is married to Claudette Hamilton. Claudette is a volunteer tutor, and they have two children: Lenny, 25, a musician; and daughter Allison, 10.

Florida State at a glance:

  • 6th strictest in Turnover Margin!!!
  • 6th handiest in Swipes!!
  • 11th most Swats!!
  • 23rd in Free-Throw percentage!
  • 74th alike in FG percentage O and D (allowed).
  • 328th in Defensive-Rebounding however.
  • (everything else C to B+++/A— letter-grades).
  • Florida State has 1 injury listed; Coach God bless!

Returning Starters=2

Florida State Strengths:

  • This is a very frisky defensive team. (with solid backcourt work on O to boot).
  • All world recruit -the #1 ranked S/G outta high school per ESPN- M.J. Walker and his somewhat modest-looking digits (see: below) may not be entirely disappointing; technically speaking; nonetheless, they are not entirely, appointing; either. As this chiseled 6′5″, 213 lb. soaring, scoring, leaping athletic freak was said to be 1-n-done by every one of my preview mag’s last season. A legit ***** (5-star) specimen type recruit; with a high school’ rep’ for being a bullying type scorer just two years ago. (sky)-Walker was the no.8 baller in the nation in hoops (ESPN); and only had football scholarship offers from Clemson, Miami (Fla.) and Michigan… as he was an outstanding dual-threat athlete as an Fs and as a Wr. Kinda a ‘bron’bron with more of a finishing ‘tude; and yah; mum’s won the national (hoops) title at Hampton whereas her baby-boy only won 4-Georgia States’. The sky’s prolly still the limit here; even if M.J.’s early start has not been quite so stratospheric… just yet. As 37.2% deep and 37.1% from the floor (which tells you what his favorite number is… “trey”) and a quality 82.2% from the charity-stripe are serviceable enough. As his very hyped-up game really only wants for: “consistency” at the moment. As his 11.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg and 1.4 apg seem a smidgeon low if anything. Even if momma bear won a National Championship bling (Hampton, 1988), poppa-bear went Elite-8; twice, (Norfolk State) and basically every brother and sister is a college hoopster here. As the Walker fam’ must pitch a mean damn game of “H.O.R.S… E” in the backyard.
  • Trent Forrest is a 6′4″, 210 lb. final-year Wing or off-G who you want to go buy beer for you. As this guy is Robert Parrish syndrome all over again and looks the 30-something part. Already. In addition to that, and in addition to being a part-time starter, Forrest is chipping in with a second-best 11.5 ppg, 4.o rpg, a team pacing 4.2 apg and a likewise team-best 1.9 spg. Or an all-’round roundball glue-guy if there ever was one. Forrest is also rather quietly just about to crack the Top-10 at F.s.u. in all-time swipes (∑=191) and he will give you a five-finger discount and pick a pocket or three if you are not handy enough on the dribble. Trent has a rep’ for clutch play— just ask his ante in the NC2A’s last spring. This from the 45h ranked baller in the nation per ESPN who finishes strong at the rim, has good size and strength for a combo-G and who has an on-floor player-coach vibe to him. Who also won a slew of high school.edu academic awards all while being an outburst scorer down in Georgia. (don’t read that hand-n-hand very often; do yah?) Additionally, Trent has also pocketed several 6th-man-of-the-Year awards from several hoops’ services in his first two years down in Tally. That and he’s hit for nearly every possible FSU.edu or good.guy.U award you can name. Seriously, nine that’s (9) different civics, educational or citizenship type of awards that are (already) his… including being a Finalist for the highly prestigious: 2020 John Wooden Citizenship Cup Finalist (1 of 4)! May St.John bless, a good-egg this Mister Forrest. (UPDATE: whispers say: “PROBABLE” with a toe hurt, here; St.Sebastian bless).
  • 6′7″, 194 lb. Devin Vassell is the alpha ‘nole at a kinda surprising 13.3 ppg thus far. He is variously listed as a Soph. and as a Jr., so not sure here? Although I am sure he has found about 15 lbs. since he got to Tally and he could prolly stand to add a bit mo’. Devin is a good-looking, broad-shouldered kid who I really thought topped 2-bills on tape. He is a stopper through and through. Excellent Hall & Oates or one-on-one type halter on D. He is also a member of the A.c.c. Academic Honor Roll so he’s defensive about getting his FSU.edu work on as well. The book here says that he’s a dangerous outside weapon of a defensive-minded Wing with legit 3-ball range (and 38.9% basically ratifies here). As does the team lead with 5.3 rpg, the team pace setting with 1.1 bpg and the team beta with 1.7 spg would all seem to concur. As would his whopping 295% betterment in scoring this season and this from the bottom listed kid for F.s.u. backcourters in all of my preview mags. So, this is getting a lot from a kid with nothing north of middleocore expectations. That’s not only coaching the verb that’s a possibility for A.c.c. Most Improved to boot. As Vassell has a rep’ for vertical leaping and athletics overall; for an outsized wingspan (measured at 6-9 1/4″), highlight-reel jams and for game-winning clutch plays. Scholastically and collegiately alike… and did I mention his in your shirt defensive sagacity yet? This all from a kid who is something of an emerald in the sawgrass, as Vas’ was only the 8th ranked S/G in… Georgia. Not in America, mind you… as this one is one pretty dang quality recruiting take or find by the Seminole Staff. Props at Leo and Co. here! (UPDATE: been heating up of late— as Devin has easily been F.s.u.’s most consistent output guy on O in the last few weeks).

Florida State Weaknesses:

  • Last year Terance Mann was da main-man down in Tallahassee; as Terance paced the ‘Noles in three different major categories. Tho’ he is gonzo and also gonzo would be a total of ~50 ppg and ~25 rpg as well. Part of which was per the premature Exodus of 14′2″ and 518 lbs. of Fives. That’s what the Center rotation of: r-Soph. Mfiondu Kabengele and r-Jr. year Christ Koumadje brought to the 2019 table.
  • Or in other words, although not quite undersized, this years ‘Nole line-up is nowhere near its former old-school Big East J.Thompson vs. anyone who played C at St.John’s towering.
  • Patrick Williams the useful part-time starter, his 6′8″, 225 lb. debut voting season body and in particular his sprained-toe (St.Sebastian bless) are all listed as: “QUESTIONABLE” for this tilt. Also listed as: questionable would be Pat’s: 8.1 ppg, his 3.2 rpg, his 1.2 apg all on 47% overall and seldom seen team-leading 87.1% FT-shooting as a rook’. This from a pseudo-Three or S/F who is said to have classical mid-range game that extends all the way outside to the arc {sic: 3-point-line}. Williams is also said to be a high hoops I.Q. kid who was only a five-star player (*****) and a consensus top-25 recruit across all four major recruiting services this time last year. This all makes perfect sense when you study that Patrick was only a 5′12″ guy after his first season of high school hoops. Who then suffered a sudden Power-Forward ending growth-spurt. So, he clearly has backcourt skillz inscribed upon his game K-10th grade give/take. As Patty was hands down the #1 or alpha recruit in North Carolina in 2019. That also said… Patrick himself says he’s really an S/G or a Two. Which would make him an outsized or nightmare match-up at the off-G spot with size advantages galore. As Williams is 2nd in swats (1.3 bpg) already and he surely blocks even mo’ shots vs. smaller Shooting-G’s in the backcourt. And oh, by the way… his crazy looking reach advantage per his pterodactyl looking 6-11 wingspan speaks to this. And he has been known to mess around and get a triple-double. As Patrick is prolly a pro’… the only question is export or domestic?

Seminole Bench: (depth=6+, very very Marianas Trench deep!)

7′1″, 26o lb. t-Fresh., Balsa Koprivica is a Belgrade, Serbia imported true-C and yet another lengthy post-player for coach Leo down in Tally. 5.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg and a stellar 72% from the floor tells you pretty much where Balsa shoots from and good on him. As same as putting in Golf, and unlike sex… longer≠better, here. The rags say that Balsa is a back-to-the-basket Five with some midrange game to boot. Koprivica was the 56th player overall in last year’s recruiting class according to 247Sports and he was a member of the Serbian Under-18 team that won the gold medal at the 2017 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championships. He is also said to have good-hands and be fairly athletic/mobile for a legit-C. And with a wingspan of better than 7-3 and a standing reach of better than 9-1 I am curious to 2023 check back on this 2012 rookie and see what’s what? (as he was actually #1 overall in the Nation for his Sophomore scholastic season recruiting class!) p.s. his old-man ran Serbian ball as a P/F vs. Magic’s 1992 so-called: Dream Team. And this hommie has a bit of a temper ejection or D.Q. vibe to him as well. Great luck on dat.

Dominik Olejniczak is only a 7′, 26o lb. grad-Transfer (Mississippi by way of Drake formerly) and by way of Torun, Poland. Dom’ nets you 3.1 ppg with 2.1 rpg on a reasonable 57.4% while being the seemingly stronger/less mobile of the two F.s.u. twin-towers. Olejniczak is technically a r-Sr.-grad.-transfer baller. This means it is very tough to top his experience-curve at this stage of his decent tho’ not quite epic college hardwood career. Dom’ did score a bit more and shoot a bit better prior to this season (right at: 6.5 ppg on almost 60% coming into this one). As he was pretty highly rated by most of my preseason magazines; so, you’d have to think F.s.u. thought they would be getting mo’, here. (and yet a closer examination of his Polish H.S. digits would not concur, what you see is what you get and you got a guy much closer to a careerist D-1 back-up C (albeit one who is about to get his second, degree)).

Three different One through Three or One through Wing back-ups also check-in netting a nifty 39% of their 3’s or better in relief. As the F.s.u. bench does not want for specialization or customization as specific player-personnel roles go for L.Ham’.

R.A.T.T.: ...where is this Youngling buncha Hurrying Hokies at, right about now?

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Noles who could scalp Tech=8.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… so, first-half @Miami while we were getting Lake Okeechobee swamped?

I had thought this to be a hardwood squad suffering from so-called: ‘tired legs’.

However, we went in at intermission, shook ourselves, came correct, and played and shot better in the second half.

So that would appear to rule the proverbial hitting of the rookie year wall or any ‘tired-legs’ out.

Because if anything, you would expect to see a leg-drain (not a leg-gain) as any given 900-mile roadie of a shooting night plays out.

The true(r) litmus-test of any linger focus/intensity concerns will come this Saturday afternoon over in the New River Valley on Super Bowl eve.

Because you’d have to think we’d have longer-(shooting)-legs at home what with 619-mile road-trip out in front of the Seminoles and our Hokiebird’s nesting in their very own, beds.

(unless of course, this is something else, entirely?)


Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for …and this was with a surprisingly limited round-robin head-to-head Coastal vis-à-vis Atlantic scheduling data points quirk… the Forum-Guide is calling for a whopping 50-point Seminole raiding-party beatdown! Even on a pro-rata basis it is still calling for right at a 13-point VomiT. (recall: …we have seen this trend in the last few A.c.c. runs; n’est-ce pas?)

The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… F.s.u. is up +2% in shooting percentage margin (all on O); in 3-point percentage margin these two are only tenths of a point removed from a sister-kissing dead-heat (with F.s.u. up +2% on D and VT up +2% from 3-point range on O); and yet F.s.u. is up a decent looking +4 boards in rebounding margin (most of which is from F.s.u. +3 to -1 from VT as seasonal margins go).

The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the ‘noles are up +1% in shooting percentage margin (only diff’ was on D); the ‘noles are also up +4% in 3-point percentage margin (¾ of which was on D); with the ‘noles up a backward-looking +4 caroms and in rebounding margin same as above (only ’cause F.s.u. is less negative in Windex Work).

The Seminoles are up ~+8% at the charity stripe for the year.
Although traveling F.s.u. attends up a useful +3 in R&R in the last couple of weeks.
Virginia Tech is a solid .833 as your host; whereas Florida State is only .571 as your guest.

  • The Fighting Gobblers have failed to reach 69-points or more in all less one L this season. (a p=.857 correlation if you are keeping barometric score @home).
  • The Seminoles are 15-1 when leading at intermission.
  • A win over the Hokies would give the Seminoles eight A.c.c. victories for the school-record 12th straight season.
  • Florida State leads the all-time series 35-22, with the Seminoles emerging with a 65-63 Tech Triumph in overtime in the last meeting in the Atlantic Coast Championship quarterfinals last March.

The Call

No.18 Net Ranking Florida State @ no.54 Net Ranking Virginia Tech:

So, one of the things that per se got me in writing this preview… was that methinks that this years’ (seemingly better) Florida State hoops team matches up poorly with last years; and the year before.

As 2020 is still a somewhat big Roster year for F.s.u. tho’ nowhere near as towering inferno as the Seminoles were before. (as Florida State has departed well over 36′ worth of starting and back-up Fives (i.e. C’s) in the last two years. Several of which were pretty dang good and prolly all of which were pretty dang underutilized).

Point being… not since Solomon and Robinson have V.Tech departed much of anything in back-to-back classes upfront. (with a possible tip of the cyber-cap to: Ace and Smitty as well).

The caveat being… although F.s.u. has seemingly been dealt at least a modest vertical blow… they have really enlarged their backcourt prowess Pt.Guard through Wing or S/F talent pool. Which is very deep on offensive tradecraft and even more talented over on D.

That’s a pretty dang hard out in my book folks.


So, when I saw the ESPN odds up above -and Eye did check them thrice- as ESPN will adjust them as new data points become available; and the current odds actually narrowed in our upsetting favor to (47.3% chance we get a VicTory) … and honestly, I was given… pause.

4 PM kick-off!

A pregnant pause that was in its fourth trimester worth of pause I mean.

As these Bristol digits sure do look off —at least to me.
(and possibly way off at that…)

As in… we/VeeTee are slumping or tiring or just plum down on our defensive intensity and ball-movement on O of late.

Eye say this because we have started three different starting line-ups in the last two weeks. So, we are at most in flux or at worst something is fluxed-up in 24060 terms or so it would seem.


Or to put it another way…

…the best Super Bowl bet on what amounts to a 3-ring-circus of a gambling day?

Might just be F.s.u. SU (straight up | no points) here.

Because all the Super Bowl exotics and whacko looking props are all about reshaping squares.

So here we “a sucker born ever Cirque du Soleil” come!


(83% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=63, Florida State=73