First Look at Florida State-Maryland

I told you we'd be going more in-depth with Florida State than most other teams simply because forever to do it, and the first step is always the good ol' barebones preview.

The Seminoles may not have the name, the history, or the glamor, but don't sleep on them. They're ranked 18th in the country despite next to no hype. They beat Georgia Tech on the road and have a few other nice neutral court wins. They're even statistically one of the best defensive teams in the country, and have a surprisingly balanced lineup.

They also have some fatal flaws that could give Maryland their first good win of the year.

As if their resume wasn't bad enough, FSU plays to Maryland's weaknesses - they're one of the best rebounding teams in the ACC, with a +8 rebounding margin. Maryland barely cracks the green in that area. They're also one of the few schools in the ACC with an established center - 7'1" Solomon Alabi. You probably don't need me to tell you this, but Alabi - the team leader in points - causes massive matchup problems for Maryland. Even worse, he's paired on the front line with 6'9" Chris Singleton, who leads FSU in rebounding, and that only compounds the problem.

Want more? FSU is among the best teams in the nation defensively, no doubt thanks in part to the security that massive length in the middle provides. They're 3rd in defensive efficiency, 4th in defensive eFG%, and outright 1st in FG%. The team is loaded with solid perimeter defenders and shot swatters on the block, and that's a recipe for disaster.

Ok, long, good rebounding, strong defensively...where's the positive in all this? Well, they don't have Toney Douglas, and that's a really big positive. Without Douglas, they've leaned on Derwin Kitchen and freshman Michael Snaer, both of whom have been good but unspectacular. While the team was coming together last year, it was Douglas that made it go round, and without him, they lack a lot.

They lack a point guard; Douglas played it at times last year, and Kitchen is more of a combo from what I can gather. They lack a perimeter scoring threat (actually, they lack any time of consistent scoring threat). This is a team that gets by on the strength of defense and a combined offensive effort - there's no go-to guy, particularly on the perimeter. Snaer will be that one day, but he isn't now.

If you hadn't already figured this out, FSU hasn't been lighting the world on fire with its offense (if they had, they'd probably be undefeated right now with that good of a defense). Much of that stems from Douglas' absence.  They turn the ball over an absurd number of times - they lead the ACC and are 6th in the country. Hand in hand is their abysmal A/T ratio, and they find themselves at 11th in the ACC in offensive efficiency.

Of course, all that won't mean anything if Alabi simply does drop steps and dunks all day.

Pressing wouldn't be a bad idea for Maryland. Without a true point, FSU could panic under full court pressure, especially Snaer, who's never met it before. If Alabi's going to get the easy points anyway - a possibility - then Maryland might as well try to get something out of it.

I like that Dino Gregory is getting back to form, but this isn't a game for him to shine. It's time to make a commitment to Jordan Williams getting 25 minutes. I can't really imagine anyone else even staying close to Alabi, even if only in terms of size. Gregory would basically be giving up 6 inches, and that can't happen in the post.

This wasn't meant as a "figure out how to beat FSU post", so I'll leave it at that. But know this: FSU is long, strong on defense, and a great rebounding team, but they lack a point guard and legitimate scoring threat (especially on the perimeter), and are among the worst offensively in the country.

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