Ham-alytics: What is FSU Basketball in 2022 (so far)? A numerical review
While no one will confuse this season’s team with the 2020 ACC Champions -- at least not through five conference games -- Florida State Basketball in 2021-22 has fought beyond its limitations to hand two consecutive conference opponents their first conference loss.
Now, revenge is on the mind for Leonard Hamilton’s bunch, as FSU (9-5, 3-2 ACC) travels to play a Syracuse team (8-8, 2-3) that dealt the Seminoles a stunning blow in the teams’ conference opener. The game is set for 3 p.m. ET today on ESPN.
So, who exactly are these ‘Noles from a statistical standpoint? Ham-alytics is back to take a deep dive into the numbers before revisiting how the Orange took round one between these ACC foes.
(Editor’s note: Synergy Sports no longer provides access to the half-court graphics and heat maps we published last season. Warchant still has access to all Synergy efficiency metrics, however, to help provide insights on teams and players.)
By the Numbers: FSU Offense
To get an idea of what Florida State is this season, Ham-alytics HQ thinks the best way to get started is to compare this team's numbers to last year’s group. Let’s first have a refresher on the 2020-'21 Seminoles from an offensive perspective. Next week, we will examine the defensive differences:
FSU OFFENSE -- 2020-21 Season
Overall: 71st (.941 PPP - Points per Possession)
Half-court vs. Man-to-Man: 96th (.902 PPP)
Half-court vs. Zone: 72nd (1.000 PPP)
Transition Offense: 112th (1.052 PPP)
Against Press: 66th (.960 PPP)
Adjusted Tempo: 90th (69.9 possessions/40 minutes) - per kenpom.com
FSU OFFENSE -- 2021-22 Season (Through Games of 1/14/22)
Overall: 226th (.881 PPP)
Half-court vs. Man-to-Man: 198th (.865 PPP)
Half-court vs. Zone: 313th (.780 PPP)
Transition Offense: 192nd (1.009 PPP)
Against Press: 250th (.747 PPP)
Adjusted Tempo: 157th (69.0 possessions/40 minutes) - per kenpom.com
As expected, things are a lot leaner this season for the FSU offense. When guard Caleb Mills is filling up the score sheet, the Seminoles’ efficiency numbers look passable. But much like the team as a whole, Mills has been prone to wild swings of productivity and efficiency. Last season, Florida State’s worst ranking in the above efficiency categories was 112th. This season, the ‘Noles' best ranking is its 192nd-ranked transition offense (we don’t count tempo as a good or bad thing).
The most troubling statistic of all -- especially for Saturday’s affair in Syracuse -- is the 313th-ranked offense against the zone.
December 4, 2021: Syracuse 63, Florida State 60
Though the Seminoles held a 32-24 advantage at the break, the offense struggled mightily in the second half (28.1 percent from the field) as the Orange took control in a stunned and largely silent Tucker Center.
If solid perimeter shooting is the smoothest path to break a zone defense, Florida State decided instead to walk through the thorns and vines. FSU finished 4-for-30 beyond the arc, a paltry 13.3-percent success rate that outdid the Seminoles’ 25-1 bench scoring advantage.
Key to the Game
If the Florida State offense wants to show growth against zone principles, it will get its chance on Saturday. Orange head coach Jim Boeheim has not strayed from his system at all, as Syracuse runs zone defense at a 96-percent clip this year.
The Orange are in the same ballpark as FSU in terms of tempo this season, so this will not be a battle of styles in terms of the flow of the game. One number lost in the shuffle the first time these teams met is the Seminoles' defensive lapse in the second half: Syracuse shot 50 percent from the field (14-for-28) in Tallahassee.
FSU's defense showed some signs of improvement against Miami on Tuesday night. It will need to be better to push FSU to 4-2 in conference ahead of three games next week.