Preview & Prediction: By Jeff Borzello
The ACC has obviously been one of the two best conferences in the country this year, with four teams worthy of top-10 status. However, after the upper tier, the middle gets a little muddled. Two of those teams looking to make moves upwards in the standings battle tonight as Florida State (13-3, 0-1) takes on North Carolina State (9-4, 0-1). Florida State is coming off a home loss to Duke, the Seminoles’ second in four games (the other was to Pittsburgh). They own wins over California, Florida and Cincinnati, as well as a loss to Northwestern. NC State has dropped two in a row on the road, to Florida and Clemson. The Wolfpack’s two other losses came at the hands of Davidson and Marquette – also in close games. There’s not much in the way of impressive wins.
Florida State is led by guard Toney Douglas, the team’s lone double-figure scorer. He does it all for the Seminoles, and takes twice as many shots as anyone else on the club. The rest of the starting lineup is big, with 6-7 Jordan DeMercy, 6-9 Chris Singleton, 6-8 Ryan Reid and 7-1 Solomon Alabi rounding out the starting five. Singleton has plenty of potential. Uche Echefu is a good inside-outside big man, while Derwin Kitchen can score. Deividas Dulkys is a gunner. North Carolina State is paced by the frontcourt duo of Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley, two players who have regained their form of two seasons ago after falling off last year. Courtney Fells is solid on the wing, while Trevor Ferguson can do a little of everything. Farnold Degand handles the point. Dennis Horner and Tracy Smith are versatile forwards, and Julius Mays and Javier Gonzalez are backups in the backcourt.
Both of these teams have a chance to break into the upper division of the ACC as the season goes on, but they each need to learn how to win big games and develop some consistency. There will be plenty of frontcourt talent on display tonight, but the key will be NC State’s ability to contain Toney Douglas in the backcourt. If the Wolfpack can slow him down, Florida State’s offense is much easier to defend. On the other side, it will be interesting to see if the Seminoles’ plethora of bigs can guard Costner and McCauley. The difference will be North Carolina State’s homecourt advantage and experience.
WINNER: North Carolina State MARGIN: 4-6
- Bracketology: Selection Sunday Projection
- Bracketology: Saturday Night NCAA Tournament Projection
- Non-BCS Top 25: Creighton, Colorado St Rise
- College Basketball Top 50: Indiana Ends Regular Season #1
- Non-BCS Top 25: Valpo Replaces BYU
- College Basketball Top 50: Maryland and Iowa St Drop Out
- Non-BCS Top 25: Davidson In, Wyoming Out
- College Basketball Top 50: #2 Gonzaga Hits All-Time High
- Non-BCS Top 25: Air Force, Davidson Making Moves
- College Basketball Top 50: Another Week, Another #1
About Jeff Borzello
National College Basketball
Jeff Borzello is a freelance writer who also runs and writes his own blog, March Madness All Season. During the season, Jeff has a weekly appearance on ESPN Radio 1300 in Baltimore and has appeared on AOL Sports Radio and CFRC Sports.. He constantly outdoes the "experts" in his projected brackets and also provides analysis and insight on every conference and team in the country. His favorite teams are Connecticut and Hofstra, showing love to both majors and mid-majors at the same time--indicative of his columns. Jeff is originally from Long Island, NY.