Bragging rights in the state of Florida are on the line Saturday when the Florida State Seminoles and South Florida Bulls hook up in the Orange Bowl Classic on Saturday at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise Florida.
Florida State Seminoles (-7.5, 143.5) vs. South Florida Bulls
The Bulls offense in year number one under coach Amir Abdul-Rahim has not been able make outside jump shots, ranking 356th out of 362 Division I teams with a 24.2% 3-point shooting percentage, but there is reason to think they will heat up from beyond the arc.
When Abdul-Rahim coached Kennesaw State a season ago, his team made 36.8% of their 3-point shot attempts, ranking 36th in the nation, and Abdul-Rahim brought with him to South Florida that team’s top scorer Chris Youngblood.
After averaging 14.7 points per game on 41.5% 3-point shooting last season, Youngblood is averaging 12.2 points per game on 19.2% 3-point shooting this season, a number that should see positive regression while the Florida State defense Youngblood and his team faces should see negative regression.
Entering Friday’s games, Florida State’s 25.4% opponents 3-point shooting percentage ranked fourth in the country, this after the team was 344th in opponent 3-point shooting percentage last season.
Coupled with the wild change in the matter of just one offseason that sounds an alarm for regression, for the Seminoles to continue this level of 3-point shooting defense, they will need to defy history as the last time a team went a full season with their opponents shooting 26.4% from 3-point range was the 2004-05 Norfolk State Spartans.
With Saturday’s game being on a neutral court, the environment figures to have a negative effect on a pair of defenses that are far better at home than away from home.
Entering Friday, South Florida ranked 43rd in points allowed on a per possession basis, but is allowing 13.9 points more per 100 possessions than away from home while Florida State is allowing 14.7 points more per 100 possessions in games played in a road or neutral court environment than at home.
With Florida State playing at a pace that’s far faster than in past years under coach Leonard Hamilton, ranking 31st out of the 362 Division I teams in possessions per game, Saturday’s clash of Florida school will involve a massive amount of points.
The Play: South Florida vs. Florida State Over 143.5