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January 26, 2008

NC State post players vs. FSU guards today

The North Carolina State men's basketball team isn't sure when it will happen, just that it will.

NC State is bracing itself for Florida State's unusual four-guard alignment in today's game at 1:30 p.m. in Tallahassee, Fla.

FSU experienced quartet of guards, seniors Isaiah Swann, Jason Rich and Ralph Mims, plus junior point guard Toney Douglas, are all averaging over 10 points per game.

FSU started post players Uche Echefu and Ryan Reid in the win over Virginia, but with the frontcourt decimated by injuries and a transfer, the Seminoles have been forced to play to their strengths.

NC State is ready for the perimeter onslaught and how it will affect its post players J.J. Hickson, Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner.

"You know, what you give up there, you want to take advantage of on the offensive end," NC State coach Sidney Lowe said. "If they are smaller than you are in those areas, you want to try and take advantage of that. In order to do that, it comes back to the same thing, which I've been saying for a while, you have to make outside shots. You have to make perimeter shots."

Lowe expects FSU to make up for its lack of size by doubling the NC State post players.

"Our bigs, which they are willing, have to kick it back out to the open man," Lowe said. "Teams that are playing us for our inside play and are doubling down, and things of that nature, we have to make some perimeter shots."

The Wolfpack will also have to figure out what to do defensively against the guards. The 6-3 Mims typically plays the power forward slot in that alignment.

"It can cause us problems on the perimeter if they try and take our fours off the dribble or something like that," Lowe said. "That is why we have to have solid team defense and great rotations. We have to try and punish them on the other end. If you do that, then you force them to go back to a normal lineup."

NC State's next four opponents are all capable of playing small ball to a certain extent -- FSU, Duke, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

Florida State preview

NC State 2007-2008 roster

Florida State roster

Florida State schedule/results

Game facts

ACC - North Carolina State (12-6, 1-3 ACC) at Florida State (13-7, 2-3 ACC)

Game time: Saturday, Jan. 26, 1:30 p.m. - Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Fla.

Television: Raycom

Probable starters

NC State

PG - 13 Marques Johnson (6-5, Soph., 1.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.5 apg)
SG - 4 Courtney Fells (6-5, Jr., 10.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.1 apg)
SF - 11 Gavin Grant (6-8, Sr., 13.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 apg)
PF - 33 Brandon Costner (6-9, Soph., 10.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 apg)
C - 1 J.J. Hickson (6-9, Fr., 15.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 1.6 bpg)

Florida State

PG - 23 Toney Douglas (6-1, Jr., 14.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.0 apg)
SG - 25 Jason Rich (6-3, Sr., 12.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.2 apg)
SF - 10 Ralph Mims (6-3, Sr., 10.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, 2.0 spg)
PF - 42 Ryan Reid (6-9, Soph., 4.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.0 apg)
C - 41 Uche Echefu (6-9, Jr., 11.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.0 bpg)

Scouting Florida State

Location: Tallahassee, Fla.

Nickname: Seminoles

2006-2007 record: 22-13, 7-9 ACC

2007 postseason: Lost in NIT quarterfinals

Coach: Leonard Hamilton, 100-78 in five years at FSU, 300-288 in 18 years overall

The all-time series with NC State: NC State leads 24-16

Last meeting: FSU won 78-52 on Feb. 24, 2007.


Florida State: Hamilton won his 100th game while at Florida State and 300th overall, but hasn't been able to get the Seminoles into the NCAA Tournament during his his four years at the school ... Combo guard Swann started the Seminoles first 19 games, but came off the bench in the win over Virginia. He is averaging 12.3 points and three assists per game, while shooting 39.8 percent from 3-point range ... Mims battled a serious virus and need to take fluids intravenously for the Virginia game. He scored five points on 2-of-9 shooting.

NC State: The Wolfpack have won 14 of the last 16 games aginst FSU, with the Seminoles only wins coming last year and in 2005 in Raleigh ... NC State has faced more ranked teams this season than any other ACC team, playing five ranked opponents ... Fells is fourth in the ACC in scoring with 18.0 points per game, and is shooting a blistering 52.0 percent from 3-point range, going 13 of 25.

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