Devin Booker looks to lead Clemson over Florida State.
Florida State Preview & Prediction
This afternoon Clemson kicks off an 18-game conference schedule vs. the Florida State Seminoles. FSU has been very up-and-down this season as expected after losing six seniors to graduation following an ACC championship last year. Solid wins over BYU, Charlotte and Tulsa have been mixed between a blowout loss to rival Florida and ugly losses to Mercer, South Alabama and Auburn. If Clemson hopes to have any success in the ACC this year, it will be key to get an opening win over an FSU squad that includes six freshman on their first trip into Littlejohn…
Three Keys to Victory:
1. Slow the Pace
Contrary to past Seminole teams, this version of Leonard Hamilton’s squad likes to run up and down the floor and currently rank 47th for adjusted tempo in the nation. Compare that to Clemson’s ranking of 322nd and you can see a clear difference…it will be critical for the Tigers to slow the tempo and keep the final score below the 70-point mark.
2. Devin Booker’s Health
Booker’s ankle has been causing him problems lately, and the leading scorer missed the 2nd half of the Citadel game when tweaking the ankle after landing awkwardly while battling in the post. Clemson will need a healthy Booker today to provide inside defense & rebounding and prevent FSU from scoring too many offensive put-backs.
3. Fast Start
One key area of struggle for the young Tigers has been in the opening ten minutes of play, and a fast start would really help to put FSU on their heels and force them outside their style of play. The worst case scenario for Clemson would involve another slow start, allowing FSU to build a big lead with confidence and force the tempo of the game.
Both teams playing today have been inconsistent during non-conference play with young rosters, and I could see this game getting pretty ugly at times. A lot will depend on which version of the Tigers show up tonight…will we see the Clemson team that played Arizona & Gonzaga tough for 30 minutes or the Tiger squad that laid an egg vs. Coastal Carolina. My instinct tells me that Brad Brownell will have this club ready and I look for the Tiger freshman to be more composed & consistent than the younger Seminoles.