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Talking Florida State with Michael Rogner of Tomahawk Nation

UC plays Florida State late Sunday night. They tip off at around 9:40, 30 minutes after USF and Ohio end. The 3 seed Seminoles are 2 point favorites over the 6 seed Bearcats. 

Since this is such a huge game, it would be a great time to sit down with a person who knows a lot about Florida State. That man is Michael Rogner. He runs Tomahawk Nation. He’s also the editor of Run the Floor on this network and a contributor on CollegeBasketballTalk.com. You can, and should, follow him on twitter @RunTheFloor.  I answered a few of his UC questions here. Michael has a lot going on, so I really thank him for taking the time to answer my questions.

We talk everything you want to know about the Seminoles. Michael talks about the offense, the defense, players to watch, how they handle the pace of the game, nearly everything relevant for us to get to know Florida State. Questions in bold. The font is a little different because of GMail. 

Not Michael. 

Florida St has a top 20 defense. What do they do defensively to give opposing teams fits?

Coach Hamilton recruits players with next-level size and athleticism (and raw offensive games) in order to run his defense. They mix up their defense for each opponent, but it always involves ball pressure 30′ from the basket, and a collapsing D that aims to take away the paint.

And like any good defense, they play the game with extreme effort. 

Michael Snaer, Deividas Dulkys and Bernard James are all All-Conference caliber defenders, and the team plays really well as a unit.

The Noles give up a lot of looks from 3, 20 a game, do you think they will change that against a team that attempts that many a game? 

This is by design, and the threes will be there for the Bearcats. The players play so much help defense to cut off dribble penetration and post touches that it’s inevitable that a team can get looks from 3 with decent ball movement.

It would probably surprise readers that the Seminoles, not UNC or Duke, were the best shooting team in every percentage metric this season in the ACC. What makes them work?

Since switching to a 3-guard lineup at the New Year, FSU has done a good job getting dribble penetration which typically leads to a layup or an open three. The two FSU players who take the most shots are Bernard James and Michael Snaer. James makes 61% of his, and Snaer is a 41% 3-point shooter.

Can you explain the FSU turnover woes this season? Do you think they can slow down Cincinnati’s transition game?

The turnovers are a long term problem for Hamilton coached teams. Since FSU isn’t a powerhouse that can recruit the same players as Duke, UNC, Florida, etc… Ham has to make a concession in the type of player he recruits. Since he puts so much emphasis on defense, this means he recruits great athletes who are raw offensively. The ones who fit that mold but are also polished offensive players go somewhere besides FSU.

This also means he plays without polished point guards. There aren’t many gifted 6-5 point guards in the world. So Ham recruits 2-guards and teaches them to run the point.

The end result of this is a lot of sloppiness on offense.

For the Cincinnati transition game, I expect several buckets off of turnovers. But beyond that FSU is pretty sound against teams that like the break.

UC has had some trouble stopping explosive guards. The Noles have one in Michael Snaer. How does he get his looks? 

He’s a matchup problem because of his size (6-5), his shooting, and his ability to attack off the dribble. He has an array of little floaters that he likes to use, and in transition if he can get a clean look from the wing he’ll typically knock it down.

UC plays a slower tempo than FSU, do you think this will be an issue?

Yes. This is FSU’s achilles heel. When FSU is forced to defend for 30+ seconds they seem to lose focus on offense, and so just about everyone tries to slow them down. The Noles are a team that tends to score in bunches, and it’s really hard to run off a bunch of points if you don’t stay in rhythm. The Noles will definitely try to force the tempo.

What do you think is going down Sunday night? Prediction?

I don’t think the line in Vegas (currently FSU -2 to -2.5) is very accurate for this game. It should be much more of a coin flip. The Bearcats matchup with FSU, and ultimately I think it comes down to which team shoots the 3-ball better.

I’m taking the Noles, 62-60.

Finally, I think this is 2 years in a row FSU has played at 9:45 on Sunday night. Feel free to complain.

Ha. Yeah, that time-slot sucks for fans, especially those of us who have to work early on Monday. But this is the Tourney. This is March. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

 
A thousand thanks to Michael. 95% sure I messed up the font in that a lot. Enjoy his coverage on Tomahawk Nation, check out my answers to his questions and follow him tomorrow. Can’t wait.  

Photo from Americas Best Online