2021-22 Schedule Preview: November – CalBearsMaven

We’ve now made it to my favorite part of the season preview, which is going game by game and predicting the result. I’ll never be perfect at it, it’s hard to say exactly how I did last year given how many games got postponed, but I believe I was wrong on 6 of the games. Looking to be a little bit better this season.

Instead of one long article like the last couple of seasons, I’ll be breaking it up by month, making it a little easier to read and allowing me to go a little more in-depth in certain matchups.

Let’s not waste any time and get started with the month of November. All times and channels are subject to change.

Vs. PennWednesday, Nov 10, 9pm, ACC Network

With Penn being an Ivy League school, we don’t have a lot to go off of for them since the Ivy League didn’t play any games last season. Two seasons ago, they went on the road in the first game of the season and beat Alabama by 1, so this is not a team to sleep on, but the KenPom outlook only projects them as the 215th best team this season.

They return Jordan Dingle, who was a double-digit scorer in 2019-20, and will be looking to improve on his efficiency from that season. All in all, there isn’t a whole lot to say about them right now.

WIN

@ FloridaSunday, Nov 14, 1pm, ESPN

Florida could be really good this season, but they usually take a while to find their groove. If Keyontae Johnson was healthy, I’d almost predict them to win this game. Almost.

It’s still a team led by Mike White that is breaking in four college transfers from much lesser programs, a freshman, and a JUCO player, who all expect to be major contributors. They only return two players who I would consider average or better in Colin Castleton and Tyree Appleby.

Their transfers come from Boston College, Charleston Southern, Penn State, and Missouri – Kansas City and they were a combined 29-61 last season and none were above .500 as a team. So while CJ Felder, Myreon Jones, Brandon McKissic, and Phlandrous Fleming may have combined for 62.3 PPG last season at their respective schools, I have to see it in this Mike White offense, who somehow finds a way to muddle everything, against better competition on a consistent basis.

This roster also only features 4 players that figure to play that stand above 6’5”. Florida State only has two scholarship players listed at 6’5” or shorter, and only one of them will see minutes. I think this is just a bad matchup for the Gators.

Give me 8 straight in a tight one.

WIN

Vs. TulaneWednesday, Nov 17, 8pm, ACC Network

Tulane returns almost everyone from a season ago, and also added an underperformer from LSU and a bucket getter from UNC Asheville. They should be better than the 11-14 they posted last season, but I don’t expect them to be able to beat Florida State.

Coach Ron Hunter won’t keep this program down for long. By next season, they should be in a steady situation, especially with a guy like Jaylen Forbes who is one of the most talented players in the American conference. I wish Tulane well, one of my favorite road trips from my time in the program was when FSU played at Tulane in 2018, but FSU should win this one handily.

WIN

Vs. Loyola MarymountSunday, Nov 21, 530pm, TBA

This is a good team. Do not sleep on the Lions of the Los Angeles version of Loyola. They finished third in the West Coast Conference (Gonzaga’s conference) last season, and had a couple of really impressive wins against San Francisco. All of this in the first year of head coach Stan Johnson.

They return most of their major contributors last season, including leading scorer Eli Scott, while also bringing in a couple of talented transfers in Cam Shelton (19 PPG at Northern Arizona) and Alex Merkvildadze. FSU should not take this team lightly, this will likely be a much tighter game than the average fan would expect.

Loyola did a phenomenal job of getting to the free-throw line last season, averaging 21.5 attempts per game and posting a free throw rate of .413, which was 9th nationally. This is a game FSU will have to stay disciplined. It’s a win, but a close on in the first round of the Jacksonville Classic.

WIN

Vs. /MissouriMonday, Nov 22, TBA, TBA

I think Missouri is the worst team of the 4 in the Jacksonville Classic, so I’ll be expecting FSU to be playing SMU in the second game. Kendric Davis is a real dude, someone who scored 19 PPG last season for the Mustangs. SMU didn’t do anything particularly well last season, but they can move the ball well into open shots.

We’ve seen worse American Conference teams give FSU fits, and SMU was predicted to finish 3rd in the conference. With this game being in the state of Florida and FSU having more depth for this kind of tournament where you’re playing back-to-back games, I’ll give the edge to the Seminoles and the overall win in the Jacksonville Classic.

WIN

Vs. Boston UWednesday, Nov 24, 7pm, ACC Network

The Terriers were terrible last season, ending up 260th in KenPom, and a 7-11 record despite playing almost exclusively conference games. They do get their entire starting five and three leading scorers back from last season as super seniors, including Patriot League preseason Player of the Year in Javante McCoy. While they were bad last season, they won the Patriot League two seasons ago and were picked as the favorites this season.

Despite their penned-in success, this should still be a win for Florida State. It may be a little closer than people expect just because Boston runs one of the slower tempos in the nation, and FSU will be coming off a tournament on Sunday/Monday before turning right back around and playing this game Wednesday. FSU will still just have too much talent for the Terriers and send them back to Boston whimpering.

WIN

@ PurdueTuesday, Nov 30, 7pm, ESPN

This is likely the most difficult game on the entire schedule, not just November. Purdue returns their top 8 players from last season, a team that finished 4th in a crowded Big 10. They’re a team that runs through the post. Trevion Williams is a player that will show up on a few preseason All-American lists. He’s an extremely gifted finisher around the basket, and a very underrated passer on the perimeter. Coach Matt Painter loves setting him up near the top of the key and running pin downs and off-ball screens to get the guards open.

When Williams needs a break, in comes 7’4” Zach Eady who makes everybody look minuscule. Despite his massive frame, he moves really well and has a soft touch around the basket. These two will terrorize Florida State’s inexperience down low all game. Then you throw in Jaden Ivey on the perimeter, who is coming off of a tremendous freshman campaign, and you have the makings of a team that could very easily make the Final Four.

These teams couldn’t be more stylistically different. Florida State will want to get out and run in transition with their talent on the perimeter, while Purdue will want to slow it down with their well below average tempo and play through their bigs. They don’t really go out and force a lot of turnovers, so FSU will have to stay disciplined and work for good shots.

I’ll take Purdue, especially with it being on the road, but this should be one of the better games in the ACC/B1G Challenge, and there’s definitely a path for FSU to win; they’ll just have to use their length on the perimeter to help the bigs on defense and work for open looks.

LOSS

Projected Record After End of November: 6-1

Just chalk so far. A lot of these teams are much better than I anticipated before I started diving into each team, so a lot of these games will be closer than expected. We move into the December schedule next.