Perhaps the best word to describe the FSU program of late is "potential," and this year's team is no different.
After finally breaking through and making the NCAA tournament last year, coach Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles lost leading scorer and ACC Defensive player of the year Toney Douglas. Now, Hamilton and his strong recruiting class have a lot to work to do to get back to the tournament.
The 2009-10 Seminoles have shown their youth in the Old Spice Classic thus far, turning the ball over 40 times in two games. Attribute that also to heavy defensive pressure from both Iona and Alabama, and the fact that FSU does not have a true point guard – which could hurt them down the stretch.
Florida State will see the same type of pressure from Marquette as they saw from Alabama, which will likely lead to mistakes from their inexperienced guards and transition buckets for the Golden Eagles.
C - Solomon Alabi - The redshirt sophomore center stands 7'1,'' 250 lbs. and is still very raw. Alabi has been praised by writers around the country for his athleticism and agility. His potential is sky high, but he hasn't shown it yet this year. Alabi isn't very strong around the hoop yet, and the lack of strength hurts him offensively. On the defensive end, Alabi gets rebounds due to his height. MU should be weary of him around the basket, as he is a shot-blocking machine. He averaged 2.1 blocks per game last season, and is averaging 2.6 this season. If the Golden Eagles go small, Hamilton has two choices. He could put Alabi on Hayward, which would allow Marquette to open up lanes by pulling him out of the paint. He could also choose to sit Alabi and play a quicker lineup. Alabi will be a force one day, and the Golden Eagles are fortunate that he's not yet at that level.
F - Chris Singleton - The former McDonald's All-American is the 'Noles' best player. The sophomore from Dunwoody, Georgia has a great skill set. And he's showed his ability to fill the stat sheet by leading the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals going into the game against Alabama. The 6'9'' forward also oozes with potential, but still makes poor decisions on both ends of the ball. His aggressiveness can get the best of him, and he often gets into foul trouble. For Marquette to knock out FSU early, the Golden Eagles could go at him and draw a few fouls.
F - Xavier Gibson - Gibson is the third of the trio of sophomore big men for FSU. Gibson is 6'11,'' 240 and his length helps him contribute on both ends of the court. While he needs to get stronger, he's a shot blocker, and can finish down low.
F - Ryan Reid - Reid, a 6'8'' senior, is a leader in the frontcourt. A starter as a sophomore, Reid has taken a backseat to the more talented big men. He is a bruiser down low, and can be tough on both the offensive and defensive glass.
F - Jordan DeMercy - DeMercy sees about 15 minutes a game, and he's your typical tweener. He can do multiple things on the court, but none of them extremely well. DeMercy is smaller than the other forwards at 6'7,'' 215, but can shoot an open three and takes care of the ball.
G - Derwin Kitchen - Kitchen is in his second year at Florida State after transferring from Iowa Western Community College. His first year did not go so well, but he's looked better on the stat sheet this year. The 6'4'' guard is three-point threat, but he cannot handle the ball like an ACC guard, which has led to a few turnovers early in the season. Confidence is key in Kitchen's game, and if he plays tentative on Sunday, the Seminoles could be in for a long night. Look for Dwight Buycks and Darius Johnson-Odom to pressure him into a few mistakes.
G - Michael Snaer - Marquette fans have heard this name before, as the 6'5'' freshman from Rancho Verde, California chose FSU over MU a few years ago. Snaer has the ability to fill it up at any time, but hasn't yet as a ‘Nole. Snaer hasn't scored more than five points since his 14-point debut against Jacksonville. He sees about 20 minutes a game, and although he hasn't found his touch yet, he will want to perform well against MU and Buzz Williams.
G -Deividas Dulkys - The 6'5'' guard from Lithuania scores one way - the three-point basket – and the sophomore guard hit a few big treys in FSU's win over Alabama. Hamilton looks to run him off a lot of screens to get him looks at the basket. His success from deep this year has kept Snaer from getting 25-30 minutes a game.
G - Luke Loucks - The pass-first 6'5'' point guard has struggled to start his sophomore season. He's been careless with the ball – leading the team in turnovers per game – and he has found it difficult to hit shots from the outside. Loucks will get a chance if Kitchen struggles, but it looks like he won't get too many minutes.
Hamilton will have his hands full with Buzz Williams' bunch, who are coming off two convincing wins against quality opponents. Marquette has the advantage at the guard spot, and while Florida State's bigs have great potential, they aren't developed enough to give their team a decisive advantage in this matchup. Ball pressure and points in transition are the keys for Marquette in this game. Getting to the free-throw line is also a must, and the quicker Singleton and Alabi get into foul trouble, the earlier Marquette can take a big lead.