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Syracuse vs Florida State basketball preview: Q&A with Tomahawk Nation

It’s that time again.

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange are coming off a solid come-from-behind victory against Wake Forest earlier in the week, one in which we saw some great playmaking late. Jim Boeheim’s club will look to keep things rolling (this week anyway) as Florida State comes to town on Saturday.

To help preview the matchup, we brought on Andrew Miller from our sister site Tomahawk Nation. We had questions, Andrew had answers.

TNIAAM: So... about that Georgia Tech game.

AM: Georgia Tech game? What Georgia Tech game? When did we play them? That never happened.....

(Note: lolz)

TNIAAM: Do you think FSU will be demoralized or motivated after falling in that game?

AM: I think this was another one of those wakeup calls for Florida State. Earlier in the season, they had another one of those, losing to Temple in the NIT Tip-off tournament and then proceeded to win 14 of its next 15 games. I'm not saying thats going to happen again, but I think FSU will be more prepared for Syracuse following that loss.

TNIAAM: How good is Dwayne Bacon? Are you tired of bacon puns yet?

AM: As everyone over at Tomahawk Nation can attest to, I am, and will never be sick and tired of puns. On behalf of everyone else over at TN, yes, we've been tired of them since last season.

How good is Dwayne Bacon? Really good. He is the leader on offense, averaging the most points per game on the Seminoles roster (17.1 PPG), and comes into Saturday's game scoring 10+ points in his last 31 games. He has vastly improved his game from long range, going from 28 to 37 percent from behind the arc, which was one of the main reasons he returned to FSU. Syracuse will want to make sure it has the sophomore covered.

TNIAAM: Over/Under 12 rebounds for Jonathan Isaac on Saturday?

AM: I'm going to say just under with 11.

TNIAAM: I think Xavier Rathan-Mayes is underrated. Can you talk about what he does well?

AM: XRM has had a reduced roll this season with the depth FSU has built, giving him some more time to breathe on the bench. However, when on the court, X has been that veteran holding the team together. His experience and composure helps run an efficient offense when he's on the court, and is shooting a very respectable 45% from the floor. He does however need to work on free throws, shooting under 60% from the charity stripe, as does most of the FSU team.

TNIAAM: Who should we watch for against the 2-3 zone?

AM: Against the 2-3, watch out for XRM, Bacon and Terance Mann out near the perimeter. All three of those guys are shooting at least 45% from the floor with Mann, a guard, drilling an absurd 58.5% of shots on his 6 shot attempts on average per game. Even Jonathan Isaac at 6'10 has no problems shooting far from the basket, knocking down 35.7% of threes this season.

TNIAAM: FSU wins if...

AM: FSU wins if it is able to run the floor and play to the pace that has led to the 84.2 points per game it has been able to score through the first 21 games of the season. The 'Noles also need to knock down its free throws and limit turnovers on offense --- Just not play sloppy basketball.

TNIAAM: Syracuse wins if...

AM: Syracuse wins if it is able to control the rebound game and keep FSU out of the paint. The 'Noles, the second largest team by size in the NCAA, have been out rebounded heavily in all three of its losses. 'Cuse also could be helped by creating chaos, as from the eye, Florida State has troubles against a full court defense and against chaotic defensive schemes

Ultimate prediction time. Who wins and why?

AM: FSU 84 - Syracuse 78

Before this week, I said that I felt that this game was a trap game for the 'Noles, however I think they respond positively to the loss at GT in which FSU was destroyed throughout. FSU's talent is just on another level, and by using that deep roster, will be able to out stand the Orange.

***
Thanks, Andrew!

Be sure to head on over to tomahawknation.com and give Andrew a follow on twitter. What say you, Orange nation? Do we finally get a top-tier quality win or will FSU be too much to handle?