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Syracuse vs. FSU Q&A with Tomahawk Nation

You know the drill.

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

As you’re well aware of by now, the Syracuse Orange (12-5, 1-3) have traveled down to Tallahassee to take on the No. 23 ranked Florida State Seminoles (12-4, 1-3) today at 2pm. If you need to know what channel the game is on or how to stream, please tweet at @SeanKeeleyIsMe for details.

Anyway, both teams have the same record in conference but FSU has probably had the toughest ACC start to open league play given its already played against Duke, North Carolina, Miami and Louisville.

Both teams could use a win, but FSU opened as a 6-point favorite in this one. To preview the matchup we caught up with Andrew Miller over at Tomahawk Nation. This game will feature a couple of really tall 7-footers on both ends so with that in mind, let’s dive in.

TNIAAM: First, this will be your last game on the beat, is that right? (Congrats!)

Andrew Miller: That is correct. After three and a half wonderful years as a beat writer at at Tomahawk Nation, I am starting my venture into the media relations industry back in my home area of South Florida. It’s been fun and i’m going to remember every day of it.

TNIAAM: Okay, so last game you collapsed against Louisville and the game before that against Miami you ran into the Chris Lykes train. What happened in those contests?

AM: To be fair, everything went wrong in that game versus Miami. Lykes’ success was due to a defensive breakdown by Florida State and just the inability to stop him from getting to the rim. It was also center Christ Koumadje’s first game back from an injury he suffered very early into the season, and with him more healthy, he should provide that defensive boost needed in the paint.

For what went wrong vs. Louisville, I wrote a full article on that here.

TNIAAM: You guys are shooting a ton of threes in comparison to last season. What does that say about FSU’s ability to adapt?

AM: When you have the weapons from long range like FSU does, why not shoot them, right? The Seminoles have four players (that play 15+ min a game) shooting 40%+ from beyond-the-arc.

TNIAAM: You guys have also only scored below 70 in two games this season. How have you guys been able to score so well?

AM: First, Phil Cofer has been a big contributor on offense. The senior had been relatively unhealthy during his past few years at FSU, and he has come back in a big way. Despite his rough past couple of games, he’s still shooting 50% from the field and averaging 13 points. Also, Terance Mann has stepped up his game in an enormous way this season. The junior is shooting 61.5% from the field, which is insane from a guard, and averaging a team high 15.1 points — more than his first two seasons combined. Another big contributor who is relatively unknown is Brian Angola. He’s a threat from three-point range, making nearly 42% of his long range shots. In his past 10 games, Angola has scored at least nine points in nine of them and is starting to get into a rhythm.

TNIAAM: FSU is third in the country in block percentage. Assuming have two guys over 7 feet helps there?

AM: Absolutely it does. Going back to what I was saying early, having Koumadje back from injury makes a big difference. While Ike Obiagu is a contributor, he is still a true freshman and is taking some time to find his rhythm on the court. While it’s always a bad thing when someone gets injured, Koumadje’s injury allowed Obiagu to gain vital on-court experience and the pair will be a bright spot near the rim for FSU.

TNIAAM: What can we expect to see from FSU against the zone?

AM: A LOT of threes. Not sure there is any more that needs to be said.

TNIAAM: Lastly, who wins and why?

AM: I’m going to take FSU in a close 85-81 final score.

There you have it. Looking forward to a barrage of threes from deep against the zone? Still need time to mentally prepare?

Feel free to cathartically pen your anxieties in the comment section below.