The Seminoles head into their match-up Friday night as the number 3 seed in the Conference tournament. Despite loosing key players from last seasons talented team, many including myself , felt that FSU would not be winning as much as a year ago.
Fortunately for Head Coach Leonard Hamilton and his No. 17 nationally ranked Seminoles, he did not have to use 2012 as a rebuilding time. The loss of Forward Chris Singleton to the NBA seemed to make room for others on the roster to step in and be a team contending in the ACC throughout the season.
Key Players for FSU: Unfortunately for UNC fans, we all know who Deividas Dulkys is now after he had a career-high 32 points as the Seminoles destroyed an unprepared Heels team 90-57 in Tallahassee. Dulkys is lethal behind the arc when on and at 6’5″ he can poss miss-match problems on both ends of the court for smaller guards.
Possibly the most intriguing player for FSU is their old man that dominates the low post defensively. Bernard James seemed to pick up were FSU star Singleton left off last year with his defensive intensity. The 27 year old James got to a late start in his Collegiate Basketball career due to his military service right out of High School.
With that said, FSU’s most important and talented player is Michael Snaer. The Junior from California has become the Seminoles go-to-guy in late games hitting a few buzzer beater winning shots, including a heart-breaker 3 at Cameron Indoor to win 76-73 as time expired. Snaer is listed at 6’5″ but plays even bigger on defense.
Keys for Success: Leonard Hamilton, now in his tenth straight year as the Head Coach at FSU, has turned his teams consistently into great defensive groups with timely scoring. The biggest key for FSU is their defense. Usually the Seminoles find success when holding teams to under 70 points total. In fact FSU has only won two games when teams have scored over 70, one of which was at Duke.
Offensively FSU plays smart and uses each possession as a way to eat clock and maintain control of the game. They also dont take too many bad shots, especially early in a possession. That would explain their conference leading .454 Field Goal Percentage. Combined that with their conference leading .377 Three-Point Field Goal percentage, one can only imagine that if an opposing team comes out missing shots and not defending against them it will be a long day, with the potential for another blow-out by FSU.
Florida State moving forward: Considering FSU is a Top 25 team nationally heading into their conference tourney, they are a sure shot for the NCAA Tournament. They may be able to move up their seeding heading in, but moving out or into a bubble spot following a loss in the first round of the ACC tourney will be highly unlikely.
I currently see the Seminole getting a seeding similar to their conference seeding. Though they will not get a 1 or 2 seed no matter what they do in the Conference Tournament, if for some reason FSU wins it all in the ACC tourney they could end up with as high as a 3 seed come selection Sunday. Now, I see them as a 4-5 seed as is come Sunday if they lose in the first round.
No doubt the team FSU will play in the first round (Miami) will be just a little hungrier than them considering they are on the bubble fighting to get into the NCAA Tournament.
Overall the Seminoles have a good shot at doing the same thing they did last year (Elite 8). Anytime you have a defensive team that plays tough on both ends of the court you got a shot at winning, no matter who you play. Along with the scoring ability and clutch play of Michael Snaer, FSU has a chance to surprise a team or two come March in the Tournament. We all saw what happened to UNC who was un-prepared playing FSU. The same thing could happen to any other team thinking Florida State can’t play or just plays good defense.
I’m not saying FSU will cut down the nets come April, but they will have a good chance to continue to advance and win if they play the type of Basketball we have all been accustomed to seeing them play recently.
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