It seems as if Florida State can’t seem to get themselves on track. Quite possibly the most inconsistent team in college basketball, the Seminoles are a big question mark heading into March Madness. The question is, “are they still National Title contenders?”
You’d think that winning five out of six consecutive gamed against ranked opponents would establish Florida State as a dominant team. That hasn’t been the case because the Noles have fallen flat since that stretch of games from December 31st -January 21st.
The Seminoles have lost five games in conference play, not bad for the ACC. Unfortunately, Florida State has shown they are vulnerable. A surprising 66-80 loss to Pittsburgh on February 18th proved that. The Noles didn’t look at all like the team which ran rampant through the ACC in early conference play.
Leonard Hamilton has been an outstanding coach for Florida State. He believes highly in his roster, using a deep 12-man rotation. That means nothing when Dwayne Bacon manages to score 0 points like he did against Pittsburgh. The Noles do have fall back options in Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Johnathan Issac, and Terrance Mann, but it’s Bacon that runs the show.
When all of Florida State’s scoring attack is on their game, the Noles are tough to beat. Fortunately, Hamilton, by using such a deep lineup, is able to rely on a number of different roster combinations. While Bacon will have his off nights, a slew of other players can step up in his absence. Pittsburgh should have been an easy win for Florida State, but upsets can occur, especially during conference play.
That deep roster is going to do the Noles well during the NCAA Tournament. Not many teams outside of the ACC will know how to match the energy this Florida State team brings. Their deep roster was a huge influence on ESPN’s Joe Lunardi giving the Seminoles a #2 seed in his projections. While it’s unlikely they receive that high of a seed at the current time, a good showing in the ACC Tournament might change things.
Florida State has had its ups and downs this season. They will rely heavily on Bacon’s scoring, as he’s the team leader. However, unlike the brutal loss to Pittsburgh, FSU will have someone else step up big if Bacon is off his game. They’ve undoubtedly learned their lesson from their losses during Conference play.
FSU might be inconsistent at times, but the Noles are one of the best teams in the country. If they can pull off a run like they did at the onset of ACC play, expect them to be a threat to the Final Four, or maybe even a National Title.
Follow Daniel James Gentile @dgentleman9288