CLEMSON -- The Tigers know all about Florida State's defensive prowess, having begun ACC play with a loss in Tallahassee, Fla., last month.
Clemson is well aware FSU leads the conference in field-goal percentage defense (35 percent) thanks to a stable of rangy, athletic players whose wingspans seemingly eliminate the possibility of an unobstructed view of the basket.
The Seminoles used their athletic defense to beat No. 1 Duke earlier this month, and defense has Florida State (15-5, 5-1 ACC) playing some of the best basketball in the conference as it travels to Clemson (14-6, 3-3) at noon today (TV: WCSC/CBS).
"They are a tremendous defensive team," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. "They are very difficult to score against, to get quality shots against, and I think they have as good of depth as anyone."
Florida State is led by star Chris Singleton. The 6-9 forward is one of the most versatile players in the country. He can shoot 3-pointers and score in the paint while also being able to guard a range of players from point guards to power forwards. Brownell compared him to former lanky Butler star Gordon Hayward.
Singleton is one member of a fleet of lanky, tall Florida State defenders. The shortest member of the Seminoles' starting five is 6-4 guard Derwin Kitchen, with the lineup averaging 6-7.
"That's one of the reasons they are so good defensively," Brownell said. "They just have tremendous length. They are bigger than most teams at every position. Because of that, they cover so much ground. There's not a lot of space on the court to get to good places and get uncontested shots.
"Leonard (Hamilton) does a great job of coaching them in terms of positioning. When they make mistakes, he takes them out of the game, so there's certainly an attitude there where they take tremendous pride in their defense."
Clemson has its own emerging lanky defender in Bryan Narcisse, who has averaged 30 minutes per game in replacing the injured Tanner Smith (knee).
The 6-6 Narcisse has a 7-foot wingspan and helped limit N.C. State 6-7 sharpshooter Scott Wood to six points in Clemson's victory Tuesday. The Tigers held N.C. State to 16 second-half points.
With Smith a game-time decision, Narcisse expects to spend most of the afternoon guarding Singleton, who he hopes he can bother with his length.
"I cover a lot of ground," Narcisse said. "My (wingspan) is one thing people tell me to use to my advantage. I try to stop people any way I can. The way I like to guard is to go all out."
No player has made as many gains as Narcisse this season, and he can continue to cement his role in the rotation with another productive performance. The junior said the key is playing more under control.
"If you are driving a car at 120 miles per hour, you don't really have control of it, but if you are at 80 miles per hour, you still have control but you are still kind of going fast," Narcisse said. "I'm down to 80 miles per hour."
When Smith returns, Brownell said he could see using both players on the court in certain lineups, providing excellent length for perimeter defense. It would mirror Florida State's style of play and perhaps its success.
Check out the Clemson blog at postandcourier.com/blogs/tiger_tracks and follow Travis Sawchik on Twitter (@travis_sawchik).