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Syracuse Looks to Sweep Season Series against Florida State

Syracuse and Florida State wrestle for the possession during the teams’ first matchup in Tallahassee.
Cuse.com
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Syracuse and Florida State wrestle for the possession during the teams’ first matchup in Tallahassee.

For the second time this season, Syracuse men's basketball takes on Florida State. WAER's Charlie Ben-Ami previews the prominent Seminoles that look to stand in the way of another SU win.

The last time Syracuse 8-8 (2-3) played Florida State 9-5 (3-2) the Seminoles were far from perfect. In fact, Florida State’s offensive struggles saw the Seminoles shoot below 35 percent from the field in the 63-60 Orange win. Florida State didn’t do any better from downtown hitting just four threes on thirty attempts in the previous matchup.

For the ‘Noles to avoid a repeat of their last matchup with The Orange the offense looks to be more efficient. That starts with leading scorer and guard Caleb Mills. Mills has been erratic this season shooting a little better than 40 percent from the field. His last 2 games have certainly showed off his inconsistencies. Two games ago against Louisville the guard had 27 points on 16 shots. In the Seminoles most recent game, a win vs. Miami Mills had just four points on 2/10 shooting. The sophomore, who led the Seminoles with 16 points in the first matchup vs. Syracuse, leads the team in scoring this season averaging just over 12 points per game.

Mills is far from the only person who Syracuse fans will need to worry about when FSU comes to town. Along with Mills Florida State has 3 more players averaging at least nine points per game. Malik Osborne is the 2nd leading scorer for the Seminoles at 11.1 points per game. The senior is a strong shooter from deep, hitting on a career high 41 percent from deep this year. What sets Osborne apart though, is rebounding. The Illinois native is 9th in the acc in rebounding averaging over seven rebounds a game with two of those coming on the offensive end.

Jesse Edwards drives to the basket on FSU’s John Butler in the teams’ first matchup this season.
Cuse.com
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Jesse Edwards drives to the basket on FSU’s John Butler in the teams’ first matchup this season.

Even with Osborne’s exploits on the glass Florida State is still just 11th in the conference in rebounding margin, it should be noted Syracuse is one of the 4 teams below Florida State in that statistic. A big reason for FSU’s relative struggles on the board is its lack of a reliable center. The Seminoles have used freshman John Butler in the five spot but the South Carolina product has struggled at times this year. The 7’1 forward/center is averaging under three rebounds per game this season and has only one game with more than 5 rebounds. The big man has shined from deep where he’s hit 14 of 32 attempts this season.

These players all should have a large impact on Saturday’s game for a Florida State team that should be eager to avenge its earlier loss to Syracuse. With the Orange’s struggles thus far this season a win is not only needed for momentum but to keep postseason hopes alive for SU.

Syracuse and Florida State battle at 3 p.m. today, tune into to WAER at 2:30 for GZA Countdown to Tipoff.