Canisius vs Florida State Preview

Canisius vs Florida State Preview
(Photo: Tom Wolf)

The opening game(s) of the 2018 AdvoCare Invitational, which are played on campuses instead of the ESPN Sports Complex, continues on Monday as the Canisius Golden Griffins escape the cold of Buffalo, NY and travel to Tallahassee to take on the 14th-ranked Florida State Seminoles.

The ‘official’ start of the AdvoCare Invitational begins on Thanksgiving Day and concludes Sunday Nov. 25th.

For Canisius it is likely a somber plane ride south as the Griffs fell to UAlbany on Saturday afternoon, 75-66. Canisius came in as 11-point favorites, but a combination of cold shooting and lackadaisical defense led to their downfall.

The Griffs entered the season with high expectations–they were picked to finish second in the MAAC, return two stars who have the talent to turn pro and have been named WNY’s college basketball team to watch this season while cross-town rival Buffalo is ranked inside the Top 25.

Needless to say, the loss to Albany was an early blow to the Griffs season.

MFST was there to witness the home opening loss and caught up with head coach Reggie Witherspoon during his press conference after the game…

After looking dominant in their season opener against Bucknell, the Griffs came back down to earth on Saturday. Sophomore guard Takal Molson scored 24 points on 8-for-20 shooting (2-for-10 from deep), while forward Scott Hitchon continues his resurgent second season scoring a career-high 10 points to go with four rebounds.

Overall, it was a terrible shooting performance:

Team Summary FG 3PT FT
First Half 9-27 1-14 3-7
33.33 % 7.14 % 42.86 %
Second Half 14-33 5-16 11-18
42.42 % 31.25 % 61.11 %
Total 23-60 6-30 14-25
38.3 % 20.0 % 56.0 %

Hard to win games when you shoot like that. Witherspoon mentioned during his press conference that UAlbany wasn’t playing pressure defense, only forcing eight turnovers, but they were in the right spots at the right time.

The Griffs will need to find their stroke quickly because the competition on their impressive schedule is only going to get more difficult.

And that starts with No.14 Florida State.

Florida State vs Tulane Preview
(Photo: Perrone Ford)

Florida State, which has won its first two games of the season with victories over Florida and at Tulane, return
home and will play host to Canisius.

The Seminoles are one of the most difficult teams to beat at home in the country. With 32 wins in its last 34 games played in the Donald L. Tucker Center during the 2016‐17 (a perfect 18‐0 record), the 2017‐18 season (13‐2 record) and the 2018‐19 season (1‐0 record), Florida State is the winningest team on its home court in the nation in the last two seasons. The Seminoles have a .941 winning percentage at home in the last three seasons and have a better winning percentage than Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium (.939), North Carolina in the Dean Smith Center (.907), Kentucky in Rupp Arena (.895), Michigan State in the Breslin Center (.892) and Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse (.861).

Probable Starting Lineup FSU

C #21 Christ Koumadje (8.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
G #3 Trent Forrest (13.0 ppg, 5.0 apg)
G #5 PJ Savoy (17.0 ppg, 4.0 4FGM/Game)
G #14 Terance Mann (15.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg)
G #23 M.J. Walker (7.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg)

ESPN’s Jeff Borzello has summed up the Seminoles early start including their impressive victory over in-state rival Florida…

“While most eyes were focused on the action in Indianapolis last Tuesday, the Seminoles lit up what is expected to be a good Florida team, a Florida team that returns several key pieces from last season’s NCAA tournament 6‐seed. And Florida State handled the Gators with ease. The Seminoles then went to Tulane in a true road game and beat the Green Wave by 11. The big early difference between this season’s Seminoles and the past few iterations (even the one that reached the Elite Eight last season) has been perimeter shooting. PJ Savoy hit eight in two games, while MJ Walker also buried three 3’s. Savoy is seeing a starting role after coming off the bench the last two seasons, and Walker ‐‐ a former five‐star recruit ‐‐ will be a difference‐maker.”

Florida State will have certain players Canisius will need to key on (PJ Savoy, Terance Mann and Trent Forrest) but they win and succeed as a team. In its first two victories of the 2018‐19 season, Florida State has had two different players lead it in scoring (PJ Savoy, 20, vs. Florida and Terance Mann, 21, at Tulane), five different players score in double figures, 15 different players earn playing time, three players average at least 30 minutes of playing times, eight players earn an average of at least 10 minutes of playing time in both games and 11 players score at least one field goal.

Canisius will need its bench to show up if they are going to upset this deep Florida State team.


At the time of this writing the line is not out yet–but I expect it to be between 10-16 points in favor of the Seminoles.

Florida State is arguably the best team in the country at home over the last two seasons and have the depth to be able to have a rotation of ten players.

Canisius came into the season with high expectations–I am on record saying this team is a NCAA Tournament team–but losing to a winless UAlbany team leaves many scratching their heads.

I believe we will see a more focused Griffs squad on Monday and they will be able to hang with the Seminoles for most of the game. Ultimately, it will not be enough to pull the upset, but if you are looking to wager on this game, take Canisius plus the points.

Florida State 80 Canisius 71

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Dan Schalk

Dan Schalk is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for MFST and can be heard weekly on the 'My Fantasy Podcast'. He is likely watching Seinfeld right now, not that there's anything wrong with that.
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Latest posts by Dan Schalk (see all) SchalkACCMAACNCAABRecent Posts2018 Advocare Invitational,Canisius Golden Griffins,Canisius vs Florida State,College Basketball,Florida State Seminoles,MAACCanisius vs Florida State Preview The opening game(s) of the 2018 AdvoCare Invitational, which are played on campuses instead of the ESPN Sports Complex, continues on Monday as the Canisius Golden Griffins escape the cold of Buffalo, NY and travel to Tallahassee to take on the 14th-ranked Florida State Seminoles. The...