Florida State and Rutgers battle in the annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge on Tuesday night in Piscataway, N.J. Neither team has been challenged this year and both are undefeated, with the Scarlet Knights coming off a 61-47 rout of East Carolina and the Seminoles gearing up for their first road game of the season after a 113-78 home victory over The Citadel.
It will be a contrast in styles when these teams collide. Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles boast an explosive offense that averages 91 points per game - 18th-best in the nation through Sunday’s games - with four players averaging in double digits led by guard Terance Mann (team-best 17.0 points). Rutgers, meanwhile, is a more defensive, physical team that has limited five of six opponents to fewer than 55 points this season, with three held to 39 or fewer, the first time the Knights have limited three or more teams that much in a season since 1945-46. “Huge challenge obviously,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell told reporters of facing Florida State. “We’re playing a really talented team that has huge players. Obviously, the guy (Hamilton) is a terrific coach and I’m excited to get a home game here in that challenge. Our guys will be ready for it.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (5-0): The Seminoles’ fast-paced attack was clicking against The Citadel, with Mann leading the way once again with 21 points and eight assists along with six rebounds, while freshman forward Mfiondu Kabengele produced a double-double off the bench in 14 minutes with 16 points and a team-high 12 boards. Six Seminoles finished with double-figure scoring, with guard Braian Angola tallying 21 points on 7 of 11 shooting from 3-point range, forward Phil Cofer adding 15 points, guard P.J. Savoy totaling 14 and guard Trent Forrest notching 10. Florida State was 11th in the nation in field-goal percentage (52.9) but it has only a plus-5.8 rebounding advantage.
ABOUT RUTGERS (6-0): The Scarlet Knights are dominating their inferior competition thus far and rank fifth or better in eight NCAA statistical categories, including first in scoring defense (47.2), first in field-goal percentage defense (33.2) and third in rebounds per game (47.5). Against East Carolina, the Knights made good things happen with their strong play inside as they pulled down 42 rebounds, including 19 off the offensive glass, and scored 24 points in the paint and 19 off turnovers. Forward Deshawn Freeman was the only Knight in double figures against East Carolina and he earned his 11th career double-double, and his first this season, with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Shaquille Doorson added career highs in points (eight) and rebounds (nine).
1. The Seminoles play four of their next five games on the road.
2. Before the win over East Carolina, the last time Rutgers had won by double digits while having only one player score in double figures was a 69-55 victory over Robert Morris on Nov. 21, 2008.
3. Florida State prevailed 87-77 in 1967 in the only meeting.
PREDICTION: Rutgers 74, Florida State 72