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|WHAT|| #7 Michigan (31-7) vs
#26 Florida State (23-11)
|WHERE||Ann Arbor Elder Law Center
Los Angeles, CA
|WHEN||8:49 PM Saturday|
|LINE||Michigan –4 (KenPom)|
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THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||3||Trent Forrest||So.||6'5, 215||78*||19||114||Yes|
|Driver with no jump shot, top ten FT rate. 52% from 2, A:TO ratio close to 1.|
|G||11||Braian Angola||Sr.||6'6, 195||76||23||112||No|
|Versatile SG-ish hits 48/38, creates most of his own twos. TOs an issue.|
|F||14||Terance Mann||Jr.||6'6, 204||58||21||118||Yes|
|Another pure driver, 63% from 2 w 8% OREBs. Transition dependent.|
|F||0||Phil Cofer||Sr.||6'8, 218||67||19||114||No|
|55/38 from floor, no assist, low TO gent.|
|C||25||Mfiondu Kabengele||Fr.||6'8, 245||43||24||110||Yes|
|Rebounding beast with 6% block rate and some range.|
|C||21||Christ Koumadje||Jr.||7'4, 233||27||17||118||Very|
|Enormous man w 10% block rate. Dunks on assists, putbacks.|
|C||12||Ike Obiagu||Fr.||7'0", 240||26||14||88||Very|
|20% block rate! Terrible at everything else.|
|G||2||CJ Walker||So.||6'1, 195||33||19||102||No|
|Former starting PG has more TOs than assists, shooting 47/36.|
|G||2||PJ Savoy||Jr.||6'4, 195||51||19||102||No|
|Just a shooter hitting 38%. Minutes have surged lately.|
|F||23||MJ Walker||Fr.||6'6, 205||47||19||100||Sort of|
|FR is scuffling badly, shooting 42/35 from floor with TOs, but still plays|
*[last five games minutes from Kenpom.]
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
FSU is an unusual Elite Eight opponent in many ways. For one, they're a 9-9 ACC team that got bounced in the first round of the conference tourney by NIT-bound Louisville, and they didn't do much in the nonconference to recommend them other than bombing Florida on the road. Their only other top 100 nonconference game was a loss to Oklahoma State.
For two, Florida State is simultaneously an extremely typical Florida State outfit and one of the weirdest teams I've ever previewed in these parts. The typical Florida State stuff: they're stacked back to front with enormous dudes ranging from African Guy Who May Literally Be An Ent to Future NFL Tight End. The weird stuff: nobody averages 30 minutes a game and there's approximately two guards on the roster, if you're judging by body type.
It's futile to lump guys into traditional 1-5 roles here because of the rotation and general weirdness. FSU sports a couple of no-shoot drivers, some all-around guys who are competent from three, and then Ents.
WDE Trent Forrest: good bend around the corner
The no shoot drivers include FSU's point guard (ish), Trent Forrest. Forrest is a 6'5" Darius Morris type. He does his best work attacking off the dribble on the pick and roll. Forrest is FSU's main assist guy and initiator and possesses a top 60 steal rate; that's offset by a 20 TO rate and a 3/14 season from three. Forrest's FT rate is 10th nationally, and he hits 69% once he gets to the line. Almost 70% of his shots are at the rim. Forrest drives, and then drives, and then drives some more. He's an 8th percentile spot-up shooter.
Small forward(?) Terrance Mann is is extremely similar to Forrest. He's a 6'6" slasher who attacks off the PNR and has no jumper. His ORTG near 120 is built off impressive 63% shooting from two; that, in turn, is built on a bunch of transition, OREBs, and cuts to the basket. He's shooting 25% from three on about two attempts a game.
VERSATILE WING SORTS
Three guys fill out the wing shooter role. Nobody is Just A Shooter; everyone has at least 50% of their attempts from inside the arc and a healthy FT rate. 6'6' senior Braian Angola is the most prominent. He's a 48/38 shooter with 22% usage, a deadeye from the FT line, and just gets inside the top 500 on Kenpom in FT rate and assist rate. He creates most of his own shots inside the line, but he's very much a rim-and-3 guy. If you can force him into a 2PJ he scuffles badly.
6'8" stretch four Phil Cofer is fairly efficient thanks to a low TO rate and 55/38 shooting. He's FSU's best spot up shooter and will face up on the block to take two point jumpers he's decent at draining; he's less transition-dependent than most of his teammates. If FSU decides to post anyone it'll probably be Cofer, who's averaging a solid PPP on about one post up a game.
Freshman MJ Walker is another wing; he's been locked in a terrible slump for the last month. He's failed to hit a three in the last seven games and is shooting 41% from two on the season. He doesn't offer much else except turnovers, but FSU has not dropped him from the rotation. He's averaging 15 MPG in the tourney. Unless he breaks out those minutes look like a gift.
GUARDS? I GUESS?
And the guard type persons. CJ Walker is the only guy on the roster under 6'4". He's 6'1". He was the starting PG until seven games ago, when FSU went with Forrest more. Walker is just an okay shooter—36% from deep—and has a TO rate higher than his A rate, so that move isn't a huge surprise. Walker was also extremely poor in transition—Forrest is excellent—and since FSU appears to have gone all-in with a frenetic style, Walker wasn't a great fit. He did get 24 minutes in the Gonzaga game, FWIW.
PJ Savoy* is Just A Shooter, hitting 35/38 with just 23 attempts inside the arc on the season. He missed seven games midseason and is averaging about 20 MPG after his return, and he's been very hot during that stretch. He's 25/51 from 3 since February 10th. Michigan should limit his attempts, as they do to everyone; if they don't Savoy will hurt them.
*[Yes, FSU has a PJ, a CJ, and an MJ.]
At center… take a breath. There are actually two African maybe-Ents. Christ Koumadje is a 7'4" dude from Chad; Ike Obiagu is a 7-footer from Nigeria.
Koumadje has started every FSU game since mid-January but struggles to stay on the floor because of his 6.3 fouls per 40 and general rawness—in the tourney he's played 9, 11, and 11 minutes. When he's on the floor he's about what you'd expect: a swat machine (10%, on par with Robert Williams) and rebounder who gets virtually all of his shots via an assist or a putback. He has no back to the basket game. No Seminole does, actually—only 5% of their possessions are classified as post-ups and they're actually worse at them than Michigan is at defending them.
Obiagu, a freshman, only gets about ten minutes a game because his sole discernible basketball skill at this juncture is blocking the ever-living hell out of the ball. He does this on every drive vaguely in his area and is rewarded with a spectacular 20% block rate, which would be by far the #1 rate in the country if Obiagu had clocked 16 MPG. He also cracks into double-digits as an offensive rebounder.
Everything else is a disaster. Obiagu has two assists on the year, a 27 TO rate, is shooting 32% from the line, and has vanishingly small usage. He has 18 post-up possessions on the year. At least his 88 ORTG isn't attached to a 30% usage point guard who plays all the time.
FSU's third center is by far their most skilled. Freshman Mfiondu Kabengele—who is from Ontario—doesn't have the sheer size of his compatriots but can shoot a bit (38% from three, albeit on just 26 attempts) and generates a fair number of his own shots. He gets the bare plurality of C minutes, uses almost 25% of FSU possessions when he's on the court, and maintains a fairly healthy 110 ORTG. Despite the fact that he's just 6'8" he goes toe to toe with the other guys as a rebounder and has an impressive 6% block rate himself.
The first thing that jumps out about FSU is their tempo. FSU ranks 41st, which is higher than any Big Ten team—Iowa is tops at 71st—and amongst the fastest teams in the country who aren't total butt. Only Oklahoma, Auburn, and North Carolina State are faster major conference teams. The top 50 is littered with SWAC and MEAC and Big South teams.
This should play into Michigan's hands, but FSU has a secondary source of transition opportunities: explosive blocks that hit a Seminole in the chest.
The Seminoles's tempo-free statistics are admirably descriptive. Their offense is 33rd on the strength of excellent two point shooting and good-not-great offensive rebounding; they are meh at threes and take an average number. They have a slight turnover issue.
On defense they look every part the team that tries to swat everything and accepts the consequences. This means they're top 20 in block rate and 17th in two point D, but they're surprising bad at DREBs for a team of Ents—because those Ents are swinging wildly at any basketball-shaped object that comes within 15 feet of them. FSU is also pretty bad at defending the three-point line, giving up a dead average number that go in the basket at a slightly worse than normal rate.
WIN. TRANSITION. Absolutely imperative. FSU is one of the most transition-heavy teams in the country on both ends. The only team that gives up more transition looks than FSU and is not complete trash is West Virginia and their Huggy Bear press. While you can feel the thunderous Tayshawn Prince blocks oozing off the page when you check FSU's 86th percentile transition D, they still give up significantly more PPP on the whopping 20% of opponent shots Synergy classifies as transition.
On the other side of the ball, a similar deal. 21% of FSU possessions are in transition and they lose a significant amount of offensive effectiveness when forced into the half-court. The dropoff is not as severe as it was for A&M, but it's still 0.2 PPP—which is a ton.
Michigan counters with an excellent, if slightly infrequent transition O and the best transition D in the country. I know I've mentioned this again and again but this is another team that wants to run and pound the boards and must be checked, and then punished, for their predilections.
Survive on the defensive boards. FSU is going to crash the glass with everyone from all angles in search of the second chance points they'll need to keep up. Each one of these opportunities is a big swing between a likely FSU bucket and a Michigan transition opportunity.
Drag 'em out. FSU's very traditional bigs can't swat everything and respect the Wagner pick and pop. First Wagner Three in this game might be worth 20 points, not ten. Michigan should try to line up their minutes so that Teske mostly goes up against Kabengele, the least threatening swat machine at C.
Shoot. Michigan doesn't have to shoot like they did against A&M to win. They probably have to do better than they did against Houston. This game is likely to be closer to A&M. Michigan isn't coming off a layoff, isn't playing at 10 PM against Central/Mountain teams, and isn't playing a team that's capable of switching everything.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 4.