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Florida State

at

Syracuse

College Basketball Pick

1/28/17

Florida State was looking like one of the better teams in the country, but a 22-point loss at Georgia Tech on Wednesday clearly showed some flaws. The Seminoles are in the middle of a three-game road stretch now and close with seven on the road in their last 11 games. We'll either realize that FSU is one of the best teams in the country, or they're like most others and will struggle away from home.

The schedule doesn't get easier with Syracuse this weekend and then at Miami next week. Syracuse has run into those home-away differentials already, winning its first four ACC home games and losing the other three on the road. Of course, the Orange haven't played a team at the caliber of Florida State, but beating Miami and Pittsburgh by double digits is at least a good sign.

The Orange aren't as good as preseason polls expected them to be, but there's still a long way to go. Their issues have come on the defensive end where they have had issues in stopping opponents from hitting open shots as they're 14th in the ACC in efficiency. On the other end, they struggle to hit threes, while rebounding is a general problem. Winning this game will take a huge effort from point guard transfer John Gillon.

Gillon has been fine for the most part, but 'fine' isn't good enough in the ACC. He'll face Xavier Rathan-Mayes in this one and will have to hold his own. Syracuse could also have problems at the two and three spots with Tyus Battle and Andrew White matching up with Terance Mann and Dwayne Bacon. There's a reason the Seminoles have been so good. They have elite talent in guys like Bacon and Rathan-Mayes, while also having depth and length on the defensive end.

Some interesting matchups will be down low because FSU's Jonathan Isaac will be matched up fairly well in this one after averaging 19 points in the last three games. He'll see Tyler Roberson, Tyler Lydon and Taurean Thompson, all three of whom have the athleticism to guard Isaac on the perimeter and in the paint. Of course, that may not matter with the Syracuse zone. The bigger question for 'Cuse is how they'll figure out their rebounding problem. The Orange are one of the worst in the ACC at giving up offensive boards and FSU is one of the best. That'll likely come into play through Isaac and big man Michael Ojo.

Syracuse hasn't look good at times this season, namely in every road game they've had, all of them double-digit losses in conference play. But at the Carrier Dome, it's different for the Orange as other teams aren't used to playing in such a big place. That was seen in last year's results between these teams with Syracuse winning by 13 at home and losing by five on the road. In that meeting in Syracuse, Bacon and Rathan-Mayes combined to go 6-of-19 from the field and 2-of-9 from deep. If those guys can't find their shot again, then the Orange will be looking at their best win of the season. Of course, this year's team is a bit different and still has a lot of questions to ask before the season is done.

Our Pick - Florida State by 5

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