The Matchup: Florida State (7-0) @ Northwestern (4-1)
Location: Welsh-Ryan Arena (Evanston, IL)
Fun Fact: Northwestern and Florida State have met three times in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge with Florida State holding a 2-1 advantage. Northwestern’s win came by the score of 57-50 on November 28, 2001 in Evanston. Here’s the recap.
About Florida State
First off, Florida State is gigantic. They feature 7-1 center Solomon Alabi, 6-9 forward Chris Singleton, 6-8 forward Ryan Reid, and 6-9 forward Uche Echefu of the bench. Basically, the ‘Noles play a three forward-one guard lineup to outsize and out rebound their opposition. Although the Wildcats obviously have good size with Rowley, Shurna, and Coble starting, facing such a large team could give the Wildcat freshmen a serious challenge on the boards. Florida State averages 37 rebounds a game. The Wildcats average just under 29. It will take a great effort from all the Wildcat front court players to win the battle of the boards against the large and athletic Seminoles.
Also of interest is the fact Florida State has won four games this year by less than four points. One of those wins was on a neutral court in Las Vegas over Cal. The ‘Noles edged Cal 80-77 in the Global Sports Classic and held of a late charge from Cincinnati to win by 11 in a game which got close when the Bearcats started to press. I look for NU to go to the press early tonight much like they did on Monday. As a result, I expect both teams will have to use their benches. Despite that, though, I expect Florida State guard Tony Douglas who averages 19.0 points per game and the Wildcats Craig Moore to stay on the court most of the night. They are by far the two best shooters in the game.
I was one of the only people who predicated NU to beat Butler. They didn’t, but it was close. Overall, I’m pretty optimistic about this NU team, but I don’t see them having enough firepower to beat FSU. Florida State, 66 Northwestern, 55.