Former college coach Denny Kuiper breaks down Miami’s 71-47 win over FSU.
This was not what a Miami-Florida State rivalry game is suppose to look like. Miami was clearly the better team. The Hurricanes looked confident and excited to play coming off their big win against Duke. On the other hand, FSU look disjointed on both ends of the court.
Just how good is Miami? I’m not sure. Right now, the Canes have a nice two-game lead in the lead in the loss column of the ACC. They have a legit chance to win the conference, but still have a lot of tough conference games to be played.
This is not the Florida State team of the last several years. The Seminoles are young and just don't have the presence they have had in the past. Let's go to the three pointers to examine the reasons for the success - or lack thereof - for both teams.
Miami’s Strengths/FSU’s Weaknesses
The Canes have a lot of pieces. Durand Scott and Kenny Kadji are capable of being All-ACC players. Shane Larkin has improved a great deal from his freshman to sophomore year. Trey McKinney Jones is a talented scorer. Reggie Johnson is getting in shape to provide a presence inside, and Julian Gamble does all of the little things.
But talent alone does not win games. The Canes have also bought into playing hard on defense. I also was impressed by how they shared the ball.
As for FSU, the Seminoles have some issues. They struggle scoring. In this game, only one player, Ian Miller (12 points) was in double figures. Michael Snaer, the Noles’ best offensive player, never seemed to get involved in the offensive flow in this game. FSU played far too much one-on-one.
It’s not unusual for an FSU team to have issues scoring, but the stingy defense and strong rebounding we are accustom to seeing from the Seminoles is not there either. They just don't have those athletes on this squad.I also thought I saw a team play with less bounce in its step and less determination when they got behind big. Leonard Hamilton will get his team better, but I think more losses are coming.
Evaluating Big Men
Other than the highest rated big men coming out of high school, it is always difficult to determine which “bigs” to recruit and which ones to pass on. Let's look at three of the bigs from this game.
Reggie Johnson: Johnson is a pretty talented big who has struggled with his weight and his ability to get up and down the court. When healthy, he has been a good ACC player. I think a big with a big wide body and good hands is usually a good gamble.
Boris Bojanovsky: Bojanovsky is 7-3. That is extra tall. He has good hands and shooting skills, but is weak inside. He is only a freshman, so he has time to put on weight and improve his strength, but Bojanovsky has a long way to go. I understand the reasons for recruiting him, but often players like Bojanovsky never get physical enough to have much success at the ACC level.
Michael Ojo: Ojo is a real physical specimen who has very limited skills. My experience tells me a big like Ojo is least likely to develop into a good college basketball player. I wonder if the skill level will improve enough. As with Bojanovsky, I understand the allure of recruiting Ojo and I hope it works out for both young men. But it will be a couple of years before we know.
By the way, both Johnson and Bojanovsky took charges in this game. You don't often see guys their size doing that.
Poor Shot Selection
Usually when people talk about poor shot selection they are talking about the number of bad shots a team take. But, sometimes it is when a team takes a bad shot. Last night each team took a bad shot at a critical time that turned out to be a big play for the opponent.
Reggie's Johnson's ill-advised three-pointer: Johnson attempted a three-pointer at the 4:03 mark of the first half after the Canes had only scored a measly three points in the previous five minutes. At the point in the game your team needs a good shot. A three-pointer from Johnson does not meet the good shot standard for Miami. The Seminoles took the air ball miss by Johnson and came down and made a three-pointer by Montay Brandon.
Terry Whisnant's ill-advised three-pointer: Whisnant's contested three-pointer from the right corner at the 50-second mark of the first half came after the Canes had gone on a 6-0 run. Naturally, Miami came right down and made an uncontested three-pointer, by Trey McKinney Jones.
Both Johnson and McKinney Jones felt their team struggling and wanted to right the ship. Instead, they made things worse.
And One: Julian Gamble
Every team needs a player like Gamble. He isn't concerned about scoring. Gamble just goes about his business and does the garbage work. He is an extremely valuable member of the Miami squad.