Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton was full of praise Monday in breaking down NC State's ability and offensive execution.
NC State hosts Florida State at 7 p.m. tonight, and then faces the Seminoles at 2 p.m. March 9 in Tallahassee. The Seminoles haven't had the season expected of them at 14-11, but return some of the players who dominated the Wolfpack 76-62 last year in Raleigh.
NC State returns four starters from last year, with perhaps senior wing Scott Wood the most memorable to Hamilton. Wood had a career-high 31 points and went 7 of 11 from three point land in a 88-81 win at FSU his freshman year. He later followed by going 6 of 10 beyond the arc for 18 points in a 58-52 ACC Tournament win over the Seminoles that season.
Wood became a marked man due to his early-career damage against Florida State. FSU held him to 1 of 10 for eight points in last year's meeting.
Wood was named ACC Co-Player of the Week after scoring 22 points last Saturday in a 90-86 overtime win over Virginia Tech. Wood also hit the game-winning basket in a victory at Clemson on Feb. 9.
Hamilton pointed out that NC State's execution of coach Mark Gottfried's UCLA offense enables Wood to get free for open looks.
"They have that thing down to a science," Hamilton said. "They have guys who push the ball well and can penetrate, and it's very difficult to keep up when they are constantly attacking the basket as often as possible.
"So, they execute their offense and give Wood wide open looks, and we all know from past experience, if you give him an open look, a high percentage of those shots will go in."
Defenses have to pay special attention to Wood, who is shooting 43.7 percent from three-point land this season, and that frees up his teammates.
"He is a guy, who for a defense, makes it very difficult to key on the interior because on one side of the floor, you can't leave him open," Hamilton said. "There's no doubt about that."
Hamilton also has noticed the recent emergence of NC State freshman point guard Tyler Lewis, who has scored at least 13 points in three of the last four games.
"Lewis would be starting for just about anybody in the country," Hamilton said. "You don't have relief and they challenge you at every spot. They execute their offense to perfection. This is a very dangerous team, and we know we have our hands full coming in there."
NC State's potential offensive firepower has resulted in five players averaging in double figures this season.
"They are one of the more potent offensive teams in America," Hamilton said. "You don't have any relief at any position. [Junior Lorenzo] Brown, one of the top five point guards in America, and he has jets and he scores in transition if you don't get back in defense.
"[Junior power forward] C.J. Leslie is a handful. He is tremendously athletic. He scores an abundance of ways. He's a handful. And then you have [senior center Richard] Howell, who is probably having one of the top years in the conference."
Florida State preview
Florida State (14-11, 6-6 ACC) at NC State Wolfpack (18-7, 7-5 ACC)
Game time: Tuesday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m. — PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, Jr., 12.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 6.7 apg, 2.0 spg)
SG — 0 Rodney Purvis (6-3, 195, Fr., 9.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.6 apg)
SF — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 11.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.2 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 15.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.0 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 13.2 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.1 spg)
PG — 1 Devon Bookert (6-3, 185, Fr., 5.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 2.3 apg)
SG — 25 Aaron Thomas (6-5, 195, Fr., 6.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 apg)
SF — 21 Michael Snaer (6-5, 202, Sr., 14.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.0 spg)
PF — 10 Okaro White (6-8, 204, Jr., 12.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.1 spg, 1.2 bpg)
C — 50 Michael Ojo (7-1, 290, Fr., 0.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.3 bpg)
Scouting Florida State
Location: Tallahassee, Fla.
2011-12 record: 25-10 overall, 12-4 ACC
2012 postseason: Lost 62-56 to Cincinnati in the second round of the NCAA Tournament
Coach: Leonard Hamilton 392-342 overall (24th year) and 192-138 at Florida State (11th year)
Series: NC State leads 27-21
Last meeting: Florida State won 76-62 on Feb. 18, 2012, in Raleigh
Florida State: Senior small forward Michael Snaer has become well-known across the country for his late-game heroics. He's averaging the exact same amount of points as last year, and has scored in double figures in all but seven games. He had a season-high 30 points and went 5 of 10 from three-point land in a 79-76 win at Charlotte on Dec. 22. Snaer had an ACC-high 21 points against Boston College last Saturday in a 69-66 home win. Snaer had a pair of double-double's against BYU on Nov. 16 and at Auburn on Jan. 2. He's hitting 38.3 percent from three-point land and 79.8 from the free-throw line … Junior power forward Okaro White has a variety of inside-outside skills, and is shooting 33.3 percent on three-pointers. White has scored in double figures in 18 out of 25 games, and had an ACC- and- season-high of 20 points, plus nine rebounds, in a 65-62 win at Maryland on Jan. 9. White has scored at least 15 points in eight games this season, and has improved his scoring from 7.7 points last year to 12.2 this season … Freshmen Devon Bookert and Aaron Thomas have started the last two games at point guard and shooting guard respectively. Bookert, who is from Anchorage, Alaska, has scored at least 10 points in five games, and tallied five points and season-high eight assists in the 69-66 win over Boston College on Saturday. Bookert is shooting 52.5 percent from three-point land and 87.9 from the free-throw line … Thomas had an ACC-high 14 points in a 79-60 loss against Duke on Feb. 2, and has scored at least 10 points in five games this season. He had 17 points in back-to-back games in December against Louisiana-Monroe and at Charlotte … A trio of North Carolina natives are playing on the perimeter for Florida State. All three have started at different points this season, but came off the bench against Boston College … Junior point guard Ian Miller, who attended Charlotte United Faith Christian Academy his last two years, is averaging 5.7 points and 2.0 assists per game. Miller, who averaged 10.3 points per game last year, started the first five games of the season … Sophomore shooting guard Terry Whisnant of Cherryville High has started 19 out of 25 games. He is averaging 6.1 points per game and is shooting 38.6 percent from three-point land. He has cracked double figures in six games, but just twice in ACC action … Freshman Montay Brandon of High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian has played all three perimeter positions for the Seminoles. Brandon has started 22 out of 24 games he's played in, but hasn't hit double figures since Nov. 17 against St. Joseph's (11 points). Brandon is averaging 4.2 points and 1.7 assists per game … Florida State is rotating three centers, who are all 7-foot or taller. Massive freshman Michael Ojo has started the last two games. The 7-1, 290-pounder had three points and two rebounds in 17 minutes in the 74-68 home loss against Miami on Feb. 13 … Redshirt junior Kiel Turpin started 23 of the first 25 games. The 7-0, 240-pounder is averaging 5.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, and has cracked double figures in two contests. He is the son of the late Melvin Turpin, who starred at Kentucky and was the sixth overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets … Freshman backup center Boris Bojanovsky, a former NC State recruiting target, got injured after one minute against Miami on Feb. 13, but returned to action against Boston College last Saturday. The 7-3, 240-pounder from the Slovak Republic, had a season-high 10 points in a 56-54 win at Georgia Tech on Feb. 5 … Redshirt junior power forward Terrence Shannon played seven games in 2011-12 before getting hurt, and then was injured against Virginia Jan. 19 with a neck injury. He was averaging 8.5 points and 6.3 rebounds off the bench, and had three double-doubles.