Clemson kicks off ACC play tonight against Florida State. This game has all the makings of an offensive pillow fight. I’ve seen Florida State play twice this year, both of which resulted in losses to two formidable foes, Florida and Ohio State. This is a team that struggles mightily on offense due to a very high turnover rate, poor shooting, and offensive coaching that would make Oliver Purnell’s half court sets look organized. But FSU will almost always be in games because they have one of the best defenses in the country. Clemson’s offensive struggles combined with FSU’s great defense means that Clemson is going to have to play great defense themselves and try to win a low scoring affair.
FSU features a balanced scoring attack, led by one of the most versatile players in the country in Chris Singleton. Here’s a breakdown of FSUs squad by position.
Florida State tends to fluctuate their starting lineup, so I won’t list players as starters/bench players. I will just discuss the guys that play significant minutes.
Michael Snaer is FSU’s most talented guard. He has found his shot from long range this year, but is still a bit raw offensively with his mid range game. He is a superb defender and it would behoove FSU to put him on Demontez Stitt.
Derwin Kitchen is a Senior that is more of a 2-guard that is asked to run the point. He isn’t a very good outside shooter or overly athletic. He is a team leader and does his best to run the offense, but his 1.5 assist/turnover ratio is not very good for a point guard.
Deividas Dulkys is the third leading scorer on the team, at 9 PPG. He is a streaky outside shooter who Clemson needs to keep track of in order to keep him from getting hot.
Luke Loucks is not an ACC caliber guard. I’m not going to say he is terrible, but lets just say that if I were to play him one-on-one that Vegas would set the line at -230 in favor of the 29 year old couch potato. Hopefully Hamilton plays him a lot.
Singleton is an excellent athlete and plays with a lot of energy. Right now he is a better defender and rebounder than offensive player. He is not a major threat to score in 1 on 1 situations. He is more dangerous on the offensive glass and in transition because of his length and athletic ability.
Xavier Gibson, who is also very long and athletic, compliments SIngleton. Gibson has tremendous upside because of said length and athleticism. He has a soft touch on his jumpshot. His body is still developing and he lacks strength, so Booker needs to muscle him away from the basket and keep him off of the offensive glass.
Bernard James is the third big guy that plays significant minutes. James is an interesting story, as he is a 25 year old military vet. As a result of his age he is physically developed. He knows how to use his body to rebound and score around the basket. But, he is more of a scrappy player who will score on putbacks rather than with his back to the basket.
Clemson plays a 3 guard lineup a lot of the time. That doesn't match up well with FSU's length. Add to that Clemson's offensive struggles and FSU's defensive prowess and I don't see this game ending well. First one to 60 wins.
FSU - 65
Clemson - 55