Friday, March 13, 2009

Tudor's Take: FSU a threat to Heels

In 17 previous attempts, Florida State never has won two games in a single ACC Tournament.

That drought could -- maybe should -- end Saturday if league player of the year Ty Lawson is unable to give it a go for top-seed North Carolina in the semifinals at Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

On paper and in flesh, the 4th-seeded Seminoles have the goods to take out a Carolina without Lawson (injured toe) at point guard.

Here's the checklist:

-- Toney Douglas: Other than perhaps forward Danny Green, the Heels don't have a good defensive option to use against the Seminole star guard. Bobby Frasor is too slow and Larry Drew is too small. Wayne Ellington has the size and decent speed, but his defensive intensity and consistency can be unpredictable.

-- Inside size. Although FSU usually starts three guards, no team in the league has more size and quickness on the interior. Freshmen Chris Singleton and Solomon Alabi combined to block seven shots in Friday's 64-62 second-round escape against Georgia Tech.
If Seminole coach Leonard Hamilton so desires, he could use a rotation of Alabi (7-feet-1), Ryan Reid (6-9), Xavier Gibson (6-11), Singleton (6-9) and Uche Echefu (6-9) against Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough.

Hamilton used 10 players for at least eight minutes each Friday.

-- Motivation: With Pitt, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Kansas having lost in league tournaments on Thursday, Carolina may not need another victory to lock up the overall No. 1 seed in next week's NCAA Tournament beginning.

There's definitely no reason for UNC coach Roy Williams to rush Lawson back into the lineup.
FSU, on the other hand, would improve to 25-8 with a win and move into the conversation for a No. 2 regional seed.

It's not that the Seminoles were issue-free in the win over Georgia Tech. They committed 19 turnovers and needed Douglas on the floor for too many minutes (39) in order to dodge a ringing embarrassment. Late in the game, Douglas came up limping slightly after banging knees with the Jackets' Iman Shumpert.

FSU also surrendered seven 3-pointers to Tech's Lewis Clinch, which could be a good omen for Ellington on the wings.

But the Heels struggled all the way in a 79-76 win Friday over Virginia Tech, and there's no question that FSU is a better team than the Hokies. -- Caulton Tudor, (Raleigh) News & Observer


soublet said...

Hansbrough and danny green won't let the heels lose today. Freshmen steps up today. Zeller and drew.ed davis comes up big.