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February 26, 2013

Previewing Florida State

Florida State's encore following an ACC Tournament Championship crown and Round of 32 finish in the NCAA Tournament last season has been less than stellar in 2013, as the Seminoles (14-13, 6-8 ACC) are struggling to stay above .500 and have all but kissed their hopes for a return trip to the Big Dance goodbye.

The Garnet and Gold must rebound quickly from Sunday's 80-70 loss to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg for a Tuesday, Feb. 26 9:00 PM EST (ESPNU) tip-off with Wake Forest (12-14, 5-9 ACC) in Tallahassee.

Wake, which has failed to win a true road game this season (unless one counts an 84-70 win over a woeful UNCG team at the Greensboro Coliseum), has defeated two ranked teams in front of its home crowd, then No. 18 NC State 86-84 Tuesday, Jan. 22 and most recently then No. 2 Miami 80-65 Saturday, Feb. 23.

The Demon Deacons won this season's first meeting with the Noles Saturday, Feb. 9 in Winston-Salem, a 71-46 decision.

It was Wake Forest's first win over FSU during Jeff Bzdelik's tenure with the Black and Gold after losing the first three games by a combined score of 244-179.

The Deacs never trailed in the victory, shooting 49.2-percent from the field and 41.2-percent from behind the arc to the Seminoles 32.6-percent effort from the field and 30.8-percent performance from downtown. Wake also claimed a 45-25 rebounding edge.

Florida State lost three out of its next four games, while the Demon Deacons dropped two out of three contests.

The Noles have two consistent double-digit scorers in Michael Snaer (14 points per game) and Okaro White (12.4 points per game), who scored 13 points apiece in the first meeting. Outside of the veteran duo FSU has struggled to manufacture offense, ranking eighth in the ACC in scoring at 67.4 points per game.

Defense ironically has been an area of struggle thus far for Florida State, which ranks eighth in the ACC in points allowed at 68.5 points per game. The Seminoles are allowing teams to shoot 43.6-percent from the field, including 36.6-percent from three-point range.

Wake Forest is 10-4 in the friendly confines of Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, averaging 70.1 points per game and yielding 64.2 points per game. Away from the Joel the Demon Deacons are a totally different team, averaging 64.5 points and giving up a mean of 75.1 points. The difference from home to away should not be that disparaging for Wake.

Only time will tell if Wake Forest can string together another strong performance following its shocking upset win over the Hurricanes, but the Demon Deacons track record on the road (1-8) does not bode well.

However, Florida State is a shaky 7-7 at home this season, and Wake has suffered three narrow road defeats (62-60 loss at Richmond, 66-65 loss at Virginia Tech and a 66-63 loss at Boston College), so after what should be a confidence building win over Miami it seems very possible the Deacs can drive out their demons (no pun intended) in Tallahassee unless they show up flat.


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