Syracuse Game Day Preview: Florida State

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA – FEBRUARY 10: Malik Osborne #10 of the Florida State Seminoles reacts after a play against the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 10, 2020 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


So there is good news and bad new for Orange fans. The bad news is Syracuse isn’t mentioned in any single bracketology report according to Bracket Matrix. The good news is that they can jump back into the picture with a win this Saturday against the 8th ranked Florida State Seminoles. Obviously this is a lot easier said then done, but if the Orange can get a win in Tallahassee on Saturday, it will go a long way in having a chance on Selection Sunday. So with that, let’s take a look at the Seminoles.

Seminoles 2019-2020 Season So Far

The Seminoles have been dominant so far this season with a 20-4 overall record and are 10-2 in ACC play. The Seminoles have been so good this season that they are projected as a 3rd seed in the latest Bracket Matrix report. They have had some impressive victories against Florida on the road, Purdue on neutral court and Louisville on the road. There worst loss this season was an early 63-61 loss to Pittsburgh as the first game of the season. Head coach Leonard Hamilton now has his 5th consecutive season with 20 or more wins with plenty of games left to go in the season. Long story short, the Seminoles are not only a lock for the NCAA tournament, but if they keep winning they could climb all the way up to a 2nd seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Players to Watch Out For

Florida State is a very…well interesting squad. There isn’t a real superstar on this team, but rather a collective effort by multiple different players. There are 11 different players on the Seminoles who have played at least 20 games this season. The Seminoles have depth, and that’s a big concern for the Orange going into Saturday. The Seminoles are 3rd in the ACC for offense as they average 75.1 points per game and 6th in the ACC for defense as they allow 65.1 points per game. The main guy for the Seminoles this season is sophomore guard Devin Vassell who leads the team in scoring with 13.4 points per game and is deadly from the 3 point range shooting 42% from behind the line. The Seminoles have good size down low with 6’9 sophomore forward Malik Osborne (6.1 points per game) and 7’0 graduate transfer Dominik Olejniczak (3.4 points per game). Again these guys aren’t the main scoring threat, but they can affect shots down low and will be a problem in the paint. One other notable player to keep an eye out for is senior guard Trent Forrest who is second in scoring (11.6 points per game) but also leads the team in assists as he averages 4.2 assists per game. The big picture with the Seminoles is they have great depth and are an unselfish squad. You can’t just stop one guy, you have to worry about 11 different players who can do damage.

Final Prediction

This game is going to come down to the health of Elijah Hughes. If Hughes can’t play Saturday, the Orange won’t have a chance of winning. However, if Hughes can go, Syracuse will at the very least have a fighter’s chance. The biggest concern for the Orange is the Seminoles are 12-0 at home so far this season. Winning this game alone was going to be hard enough, but on the road where no team has won in Tallahassee this season? That’s a big yikes. As much as I would love to give the Orange the win, the odds are stacked against them and I think the Seminoles will be too much to handle in terms of their depth and ability to share the ball. It will require the Orange to have their best team game of the season in order to pull off the upset. I just don’t see that happening.

Final Score: Florida State 85, Syracuse 72