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MSU Men’s Basketball: Florida preview and Gamethread

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Iowa v Michigan State Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Game Info:

Tip-off: Saturday, December 8 12:00pm (noon) EST
Location: Gainesville, FL
TV: CBS

Florida (5-3):

NR (AP - 2 votes), NR (USA/Coaches - 2 votes), #21 (Kenpom)

Florida depth chart:

1) Nembhard (6’5” fr), Okauru (6’3” so)
2) Allen (6’2” sr), Locke (6’3” fr)
3) Hudson (6’6” sr), Ballard (6’5” so)
4) Hayes (6’9” jr), Johnson (6’5” fr)
5) Stone (6’8” sr), Bassett (6’9” so)

Florida scouting report:

Kenpom numbers: #60 (Ortg), #6 (Drtg), #11 (D-TO%), #2 (D-Steal%), #30 (D-Block%), #300 (O-FT%), #309 (Tempo), #346 (D-av. Poss length)

Key players:

  • Nembhard (114 Ortg, 76% of mins, 39.2 assist rate, 9-18 from 3 on the year)
  • Allen (106 Ortg, 67.5% of mins, under 30% from 3 on the year - though a better shooter than this %, #17 in the country in Steal%)
  • Hayes (117 Ortg (highest on the team!!!), #31 in the country in Blk%)
  • Stone (88 Ortg, 50% from 3 (why doesn’t he shoot more???), 24% turnover rate)
  • Ballard (10 ppg off the bench, ~40% from 3 on second highest volume on the team, good athletic defender)
  • Locke (42% from 3 on 38 attempts (highest on team)

Style/tendencies: Florida plays slow, primarily due to their defense, which uses a variety of zone presses and stingy zone and man defense (primarily man from what I have seen) to slow down the opposition and make teams play longer offensive possessions. They get a lot of steals and force a lot of turnovers (although when I watched part of the Florida vs WVU game I was shocked by how BAD WVU was with the ball, but this is mostly due to WVU having a bad back-court).

They don’t shoot the ball as well as their teams have in the past, but they have a number of capable shooters and we can’t let them find their rhythm in this one. The trick to guarding this team is Nembhard; he is their primary ball-handler, a great passer, and a good 3pt shooter; he stirs the drink, and the rest of their players don’t create much offense (outside of Allen and Ballard, for himself, and their defense forcing turnovers).

Game-plan to beat Flordia:

1) Take care of the ball - Winston, Langford, McQ (if healthy), and Henry will have to be solid vs the press and any traps, and will need to look to score when breaking the press (another game where Loyer may not get much burn)

2) Defend Nembhard - if we can shut him down Florida really struggles. I see Winston, Langford, McQ, and Henry all getting their chances to guard him. If the guards and our bigs can defend the PnR and limit Nembhard then we will force Florida into bad shots, which will prevent their press from getting set up and will let us get out and run a bit.

3) Get the ball to Ward - Hayes and Stone are both solid defenders, but Ward should be able to win against them and to get them in foul-trouble (those two don’t foul a ton, but they also haven’t dealt with anyone of Ward’s quality and the reserve bigs foul a TON).

4) Dominate the glass - Florida is not ready for MSU on the glass. They don’t really crash the offensive glass at all (#228 in Orb rate), and they are only “ok” at cleaning the defensive glass. Ward, Tillman, Goins, Ahrens, Henry, Kithier, and Bingham jr will all need to dominate the glass. If we win the rebounding battle then that is a great indication that we will win the game (means we are likely grabbing a lot of their misses, which stops their press, and grabbing a good number of our own giving us more looks at the rim and kick-out 3’s)

5) Equanimity: (noun) mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation. If we prove we have this (after not really embodying it vs Kansas and Louisville), then we win the game.

Prediction:

Kenpom says: Florida 72 MSU 71

I says: MSU 84 Florida 73

Make gamethread go now!