Louisville Basketball: 5 Crucial Questions Heading Into Florida State

We take a look at five crucial questions for the Louisville basketball team heading into their huge ACC game against Florida State.

The Louisville basketball team will be embarking on one of their most important ACC games of the season whenever they take on Florida State Saturday afternoon. The Seminoles are currently at the top of the conference standings and looking to keep cruising through their 2016-2017 schedule.

If the Cards want to come away with a win, then they must play at a high-level on Saturday.

With that being said, let’s take a look at five crucial questions heading into Florida State:

Jan 18, 2017; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard CJ walker (2) and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (22) and forward Jonathan Isaac (1) celebrate after a play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 18, 2017; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles guard CJ walker (2) and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (22) and forward Jonathan Isaac (1) celebrate after a play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

5. Can Louisville Slow Down Florida State’s Hot Offense?

This isn’t the Florida State basketball team of old, as these guys are playing at an extremely high level and will test the Cards in every way on Saturday afternoon. The Seminoles are currently second in the conference in scoring offense per game with 86.3, which means they are the best shooting team in the ACC Louisville has faced this season.

Florida State’s offensive attack is led by three key players: Dwyane Bacon, Johnathon Issac, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes. All three players are currently averaging at least 10 points per game this season.

With that being said, Louisville has already faced a ton of teams who shoot the basketball extremely well. However, this will be the first legit team they will face without Quentin Snider. Let’s see if they can figure out a way to shut these Seminoles down without their leader.

Jan 14, 2017; Louisville, KY, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jayson Tatum (0) pressures the dribble of Louisville Cardinals forward Deng Adel (22) during the first half at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 14, 2017; Louisville, KY, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jayson Tatum (0) pressures the dribble of Louisville Cardinals forward Deng Adel (22) during the first half at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

4. Has Deng Adel Finally Turned The Corner?

One of our crucial questions heading into the Clemson game, was trying to figure out if Deng Adel would make up for the scoring absence of Quentin Snider. Not only did Adel fill that void, he actually tied his season-high in points with 18 against the Tigers on Thursday night.

It was exactly the type of performance that we have been waiting to see from Adel for a while, but the bigger key is seeing if he can do that type of thing two games in-a-row.

If the Cardinals want to come out of Florida State with a win, then they need Deng Adel to knock down a couple threes and get his scoring total well into the double-digits. The Seminoles won’t be afraid to shoot the basketball in front of their home crowd and neither should the Cards.

Jan 19, 2017; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Ray Spalding (13) blocks the shot of Clemson Tigers forward Jaron Blossomgame (5) during the first half at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 19, 2017; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Ray Spalding (13) blocks the shot of Clemson Tigers forward Jaron Blossomgame (5) during the first half at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

3. Who Will Have The Better Game: Mathiang Or Spalding?

One of the greatest strengths of this Louisville basketball team is their depth and talent at the forward spot. Ray Spalding has been in the starting lineup for the past few weeks, but Pitino benched him against Clemson and in turn, the sophomore had a terrible game.

Mathiang on the other hand, also came off the bench, but finished the night with 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 12 points.

Louisville is much better than Florida State in the rebounding category, therefore they still have a great opportunity to control the game on Saturday. However, will the dominant Ray Spalding show up orr will Mathiang’s veteran presence be the bigger key for the Cardinals down in Florida State?

Regardless, Rick Pitino is going to need at least one of these guys to play a very good basketball game if Louisville wants to control the boards against the Seminoles.

Jan 11, 2017; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino talks with his players in a time out during the first half against the Pittsburgh Panthers at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 11, 2017; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino talks with his players in a time out during the first half against the Pittsburgh Panthers at KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

2. Will Louisville Bring FSU Back Down To Earth In The ACC?

Florida State has absolutely been on fire this season, as they already are 17-2 and 5-1 in the conference. This team is play at a much higher level than they have in the past and they are definitely for real.

The Seminoles have already beaten #21 Florida, #12 Virginia, #21 Virginia Tech, #7 Duke, and #15 Notre Dame.

I think it goes without saying that Florida State needs to be brought back down to Earth on Saturday afternoon. If they beat Louisville, then the ACC conference championship is theirs to lose. After the Louisville game, FSU only plays two ranked teams in the their last 11 games of the regular season.

Jan 4, 2017; South Bend, IN, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Quentin Snider (4) dribbles as Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard T.J. Gibbs (2) defends in the first half at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 4, 2017; South Bend, IN, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Quentin Snider (4) dribbles as Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard T.J. Gibbs (2) defends in the first half at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

1. How Will Louisville Handle Their 1st Road Game Without Snider?

I was pleasantly surprised with how well Louisville played without Quentin Snider against Clemson. A 32-point victory in the ACC is extremely impressive and even harder to come by. However, going on the road, down to play a very good Florida State basketball team will test the Cards like no other.

Playing on the road in college basketball is a completely different animal all together. The Cards won’t be playing in a friendly environment when things start to go wrong on Saturday afternoon. Heck, the crowd will be crazy even when things are going well.

This game against Florida State will show all of us who is going to step up and be the leader for the Cards. Championship basketball teams find ways to overcome adversity. Can Louisville figure out a way to come out of Tallahassee victorious and keep climbing in the ACC standings this weekend?

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