Expect Florida State to Disarm Cowboys

Rainman M.

Saturday, December 16, 2017 3:36 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 3:36 PM UTC

No. 19 Florida State (9-0) plays Oklahoma State (7-2) today at 2 PM in the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Florida, which is about a 7 hour drive from Florida State's campus. The Seminoles are favored by 6.5.

Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Florida State Seminoles

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Free NCAAB Pick: Florida State -6Best Line Offered: at BetOnline Florida State's three leaders in terms of minutes and points per game departed.

Point Guard CJ Walker is one of multiple Seminoles who were role players last year and are being asked to contribute significantly more this year. Walker has improved especially on defense. He ranks 91st in steal percentage and co-leads the team with 1.9 steals per game.

MJ Walker and Braian Angola share time at shooting guard. They are the team's reliable three-point shooters: Angola averages 42.9% from three, Walker 48.6.

Forward Terance Mann is the top returning scorer. He has been stellar inside the arc, ranking 34th with 74.7% two-point completion. He scored a season-high 25 points against Florida's high-ranked defense. Trent Forrest shares time with Mann at forward. He isn't quite as superbly efficient inside, but co-leads the team with 1.9 steals per game.

Power Forward Phil Cofer is the team's leading rebounder at 5.8 per game. He doesn't commit many fouls, so that the Seminoles can rely on his physicality inside.

Oklahoma State

Last year's top-ranked offense lost its top scorer, Jawun Evans, who averaged 19.2 points per game. The Cowboys also miss Phil Forte's 13.3 PPG.

Brandon Averette and Kendall Smith are trying to replace Evans at point guard. The sophomore Averette was Evans' backup and played every game last season. Averette is improving as a distributor, ranking 52nd in assist rate. Smith is a grad transfer from CSUN in the Big West. Smith is struggling to find his stroke, but leads the team with 3.9 assists per game.

Thomas Dziagwa and Tavarius Shine complement each other at shooting guard. Dziagwa shoots 48% from three. Shine is strong at keeping the ball and getting to the basket. He averages 81.2% free throws.

Cameron McGriff and Mitchell Solomon contribute physicality inside with rebounding, blocks and two-point scoring. Solomon ranks 10th with 80.6% 2-point completion. He also leads the team with 1 block per game.

Top returning scorer Jeffrey Carroll has yet to find his groove. Perhaps the FBI investigation into the program, which had led him to be suspended for the first 3 games of the season, is still distracting him.

The Verdict

Florida State's scoring starts on defense. They rank 38th in defensive turnover % and have the 39th quickest offensive possession length. Various Seminoles excel at driving inside and scoring near the rim, especially because of their ability to create transition opportunities. They rank 22nd in defensive block % and 20th in defensive steal %. Florida ranks 8th in offensive turnover % but still committed 17 turnovers in their blowout loss against Florida State. Mann, Angola, Cofer and Forrest all average above 58% two-point completion. Overall, the team ranks 15th in blocks allowed. They are hard to stop once they get going. For Oklahoma State, it is especially worrisome that point guard Kendall Smith leads the team with 2.4 turnovers per game. Averette also has yet to succeed against a half-court defense of Florida State's caliber.

Oklahoma State lacks the tools to keep up. They attempt the 64th-highest proportion of threes, but rank 216th in 3-point %, especially while Carroll continues to struggle. They rank 9th in free throw percentage, but Florida State ranks 64th in allowing free throws. Florida State's defensive rebounding is abysmal, but Oklahoma State doesn't rank nearly as high in offensive rebounding as Rutgers, the only team to keep within single digits of Florida State so far on our NCAAB Picks.

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