Tuesday, January 13, 2009

CHN GameNight Preview, Jan. 13

GameNight Preview: Florida State at North Carolina State

The ACC has obviously been one of the two best conferences in the country this year, with four teams worthy of top-10 status. However, after the upper tier, the middle gets a little muddled. Two of those teams looking to make moves upwards in the standings battle tonight as Florida State (13-3, 0-1 in the ACC) takes on North Carolina State (9-4, 0-1). Florida State is coming off a home loss to Duke, the Seminoles’ second in four games (the other was to Pittsburgh). They own wins over California, Florida and Cincinnati, as well as a loss to Northwestern. NC State has dropped two in a row on the road, to Florida and Clemson. The Wolfpack’s two other losses came at the hands of Davidson and Marquette – also in close games. There’s not much in the way of impressive wins.

Florida State is led by guard Toney Douglas, the team’s lone double-figure scorer. He does it all for the Seminoles, and takes twice as many shots as anyone else on the club. The rest of the starting lineup is big, with 6-7 Jordan DeMercy, 6-9 Chris Singleton, 6-8 Ryan Reid and 7-1 Solomon Alabi rounding out the starting five. Singleton has plenty of potential. Uche Echefu is a good inside-outside big man, while Derwin Kitchen can score. Deividas Dulkys is a gunner. North Carolina State is paced by the frontcourt duo of Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley, two players who have regained their form of two seasons ago after falling off last year. Courtney Fells is solid on the wing, while Trevor Ferguson can do a little of everything. Farnold Degand handles the point. Dennis Horner and Tracy Smith are versatile forwards, and Julius Mays and Javier Gonzalez are backups in the backcourt.

Both of these teams have a chance to break into the upper division of the ACC as the season goes on, but they each need to learn how to win big games and develop some consistency. There will be plenty of frontcourt talent on display tonight, but the key will be NC State’s ability to contain Toney Douglas in the backcourt. If the Wolfpack can slow him down, Florida State’s offense is much easier to defend. On the other side, it will be interesting to see if the Seminoles’ plethora of bigs can guard Costner and McCauley. The difference will be North Carolina State’s homecourt advantage and experience.

North Carolina State MARGIN: 4-6

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