Despite the Score...It wasn't All Seminoles

They are older, more athletic, and had the best recruiting class in basketball last year. So the <b>Wildcats</b> didn't stand a chance, right?<br><br> Wrong - FSU did win going away, but NU was ahead at the half. So what happened? Hate to say it, but just what we warned about earlier today...

Don't say we didn't warn you. Florida State came out running and was in the process of blowing the Wildcats out of the Leon County Civic Center.
But NU came back, running a wide zone, forcing the Seminoles to make longer and longer 3 pointers, and it worked. Evan Seacat hit a string of 3 pointers, T.J. Parker did the same and the Cats were up at the half 31-26.

And it stayed that way until T.J. got his fourth foul, then suddenly, the wheels came off. Seacat's 3's stopped falling, the 'Noles' shots did, and Vedran Vukusic fouled out.

Tim Pickett's treys started to fall in again, and so did Anthony Richardson's. FSU started to run and suddenly the 'Noles' were up by 20. It seemed to go that quick. The Cats tried to slow the game back down, but FSU also started to play defense and while some of the back door plays worked, NU couldn't drive the lane.

In the Pregame Intel Report, we had outlined 5 challenges for the Wildcats to stay in the game, and maybe even win.
1. Pickett - Once again, we have to stop a big shooter from the back court. It appears that if you don't shut him down, Pickett will run all over you - Mohamed Hachad will have his hands full tonight.
Pickett had a lot of points early, but when the Cats concentrated on him, Richardson stepped up. He still finished with 21 ponts - 5 of 8 from the arc. 3 rebounds and 4 steals too.
2. Watch the Forwards - Once Pickett is slowed, the Cats have to deal with 3 Forwards who don't miss much. We match up pretty well in height, but the trio of  Richardson, Johnson and Thornton all make well over 60% of their shots, again lots of defense. The guys up front also block well.
Gee, I was worried about all 3 - only Richardson turned out to be the dangerous one: 4 of 5 from the arc, 10 of 13 from the floor, 3 of 3 free throws, and most in the 2nd half. He also had 3 rebounds. Johnson only shot for 5 points in 22 minutes, but had 5 rebounds, Thornton didn't play much and had 2 points.
3. Cut down on turnovers - The 'Noles have averaged almost 12 steals a game, opponents average 23.
They only had 8 steals, but the Cats turned it over 18 times.
4. Take advantage of their mistakes - FSU turns the ball over almost 18 times a game. Tonight we have to turn those into baskets.
We only had 12 points from FSU turnovers, they had 16.
5. Play our game - This is one team we can't get into a run and gun battle with because they have the numbers to wear us down.
We did fine until T.J. Parker got 4 fouls, then Vedran Vukusic got 4, then fouled out. At one time I saw Evan Seacat playing in the lane against Richardson. It was no contest.
After the game, NU Coach Bill Carmody had a simple explanation for the sudden turn around...
They had shots and they knocked them down.

That's what I saw. They had some shots out of the corner and they made 'em.

One little stretch we had a 7 - 8 point lead, we had some shots we didn't make and then the foul troubles didn't help us ... our defense wasn't on top of guys like it was in the first half.
Talk about Evan Seacat and the big lift he gave you guys off the bench in the first half.
He really helped us there and to get that lead, and that's what he has to do because that's what he's good at, make shots and he didn't do too bad in some of the other things.

I think we mentioned the other night that we seem to play a little better offensively when he's in there because he's not trying to do too much, but he tired, you could see that, he was missing. He's got similar shots in the 2nd half and he was just a little short on a number of them.
What did FSu do to Vedran Vukusic tonight?
They were putting the heat on him pretty good, but what hurt us the most was the defense on our center. We weren't able to get the ball to Davor down low -- when we shot him up there, there was pressure on him.

So we're going to have to figure out how when people are denying him, how we're going to get him open.
The big FSU player was Anthony Richardson
He just went nuts in the 2nd half. I don't know what he did, but it seemed like every time he touched the ball he knocked it down.

We usually think of him as a one dribble - jump shot sort of guy, but he was just banging open catches there.

Thinking back a week, are there things you see that are improvements?
 I think we played pretty well for a while -- you just see the lack of depth up front because I didn't think Davor was playing that well and I would have liked to get him out of there -- give him a blow.

I'm not able to do that right now. Vince [Scott] just isn't ready to play on a court like this right now. When is he going to be able to do this, that's the question. You have to get him in there to get him experience  but you might be forfeiting a couple of games so you have to weigh those things.
And that's the story - One telling statistic -- at one time the Cats were shooting 75% from the arc. We finished 8-19 or 42%.
Next up are the Bison of Bucknell -- who scared the bejezuz out of Michigan State in their opener a few weeks ago.
Its Wednesday Night in Evanston...Its on WGN and we'll Chat again as usual.
[Bill Carmody's Post Game comments are taken from the WGN Post Game Show
with Dave Eanet and Shon Morris, and may be editied for clarity]

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