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Georgia Tech Basketball: Florida State Preview

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Tech looks to keep the momentum going in their ACC opener.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

After a pair of bad losses to start the season, Georgia Tech has bounced back with wins over Kentucky and Nebraska and look to make it three in a row as they hit the road to take on #15 Florida State. The Jackets and Seminoles will tipoff from Tallahassee at 8:30 PM ET.

Tech comes into this one riding a two game winning streak to get back to .500 on the season. The Jackets dropped their season opener to Georgia State by a score of 123-120 in 4OT, and followed that up with an 83-73 loss to Mercer two days later. After nine days to regroup, the Jackets came out much stronger, and picked up a dominant victory over Kentucky. A few days later, they went on the road and secured a double digit win over Nebraska.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State enters the game with a 3-0 record on the season. While having played just three games, two have come against top notch opponents. The Seminoles defeated Indiana by a score of 69-67 and defeated Florida 83-71, both at home. While neither Indiana nor Florida are ranked in the AP top 25, they both received votes this week. Florida State’s other win came against North Florida by a score of 86-58.

The Seminoles rank inside the top 25 in the country in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Offensively, Florida State takes advantage of their size (they rank #1 in the country in Kenpom’s “Average Height” metric) to secure offensive rebounds and create second chance opportunities. They have a lot of different guys who can get the ball in the basket with four players averaging double digit scoring through the first three games. Leading the way is senior point guard MJ Walker, who is averaging nearly 18 points per game. Another player to watch is freshman power forward Scottie Barnes. The five-star, consensus top 10 recruit just earned the title of ACC freshman of the week after a 17 point performance in the Seminoles win over Florida. Down low, Moses Wright will have his hands full with 7’1” center Balsa Koprivica (yes, FSU seems to have one or more seven footers on their roster just about every season).

Vermont v Florida State Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Defensively, the Seminoles success comes from their high turnover rate. Over their last two games, Tech has improved significantly taking care of the ball, committing just 6 turnovers against Kentucky and 8 turnovers against Nebraska. Florida State, meanwhile, has forced their opponents to turn the ball over 57 times through their first three games. This will definitely be one of the keys to the game and an area to watch closely. If Tech wants to win this thing, they will have to take care of the ball.

Florida State look to be a real contender in the ACC this season and a road win definitely will not be easy. Tech will have to keep turnovers down and will need strong contributions from the team across the board. If they’re able to do that, they may be able to pull the upset win and defeat the #15 Seminoles on the road.