Joe Lunardi was a bit more bullish on FSU, but even he only had the Seminoles as an 11-seed playing in Dayton as part of the First Four. Also note that UF was a 2-seed and USC and Louisville, two teams left out completely, were both 4-seeds.
Sunshine Showdown: No. 2 UF vs. No. 7 FSU
Here at Tomahawk Nation, the preseason roundtable unanimously pegged FSU as a bubble/First Four team, with the ultimate selection likely coming down to just how bad the OOC schedule would turn out to be, as well as key games against fellow ACC bubblers.
Former Florida State quality control coach Mike Warren is suing the school for unpaid wages. According to Warren, who was an assistant in Tallahassee under Jimbo Fisher, Florida State has not paid him for the work he did during the Independence Bowl and the overtime hours he worked over the last three years.
With the Seminoles landing a 9-seed in the NCAAT, and pretty much unanimously in the should be in category for several weeks leading up to Selection Sunday, mark this down as FSU absolutely exceeding expectations.
Video: Dancing in Their Own Backyard
A few months ago I wrote a piece detailing how FSU has a history of meeting or exceeding preseason media expectations in ACC play under Leonard Hamilton. In fact, since the ACC expanded to 12 teams (thus giving rise to an unbalanced conference schedule) over a decade ago, FSU had met or exceeded its preseason conference standings prediction eight out of 12 seasons. Well, make it 9 of 13.
FSU was predicted by the conference media to finish 8th in the ACC, and the Seminoles hit that on the nose. Interestingly, its just the second season during those 13 years in which FSU finished precisely in its predicted spot (2012 was the first).
If you listen to TV announcers, Florida States staple under Leonard Hamilton has been a suffocating defense that grinds teams into submission (in their defense, it was FSUs staple from 2009-12, so its only been SIX years now…). So we should probably be surprised that the clear weakness of this years team is its 76th-ranked defense (the offense is 30th), right? Not exactly.
Little Rock Trojans Earns No. 14 Seed in NCAA Tournament
Folks who follow the team closely (i.e. those of us here at TN) voiced unanimous concern for the defense this year. In fact, every single person in the aforementioned roundtable picked the FSU offense to rank above the FSU defense. In fact, Michael Rogner even boldly predicted there would be little, if any, regression from last years 30th ranked offense—and he nailed it. Now, Im not sure anyone expected the defense to be quite as bad as it was for stretches during the season (at one point ranking around 100th). And despite there being at least one game left to play, we can safely call the race for best unit on the 2018 team in favor of the offense. Expectation met.
at : Noles Head to Gainesville for Top-10 Matchup
Last year, Florida State took advantage of depth and athleticism to run at a speedy 15.3 seconds per offensive possession. That was good for 16th nationally. Coming into this season, the expectation was for FSU to rev up the pace even faster. Yours truly even predicted under 15 seconds per possession.
Instead, FSU slowed down by more than half a second, finishing 37th in the nation at 15.9 seconds per possession. What happened? Much less depth.
Coming into the year, FSU coaches (and media/fans) were counting on contributions from top-200 recruits RaiQuan Gray, Anthony Polite, and Wyatt Wilkes. Instead, Gray came to Tallahassee out of shape, Polite and Wilkes suffered injuries, and the troika combined for 48 minutes of action the entire season. On top of that, Christ Koumadje and PJ Savoy missed a combined 19 games due to injury, and Trent Forrest wasnt fully healed from a preseason foot injury until mid-January. This all led to much less depth than expected, and a team at its best when pushing tempo on offense and defense was forced to adjust to a slower pace.
Its the unexpected development of FSU going from a team leaded with depth to one with depth concerns that really highlights just how good a job Leonard Hamilton and his staff did this season. Florida State lost the bulk of its production from last years team and came into the year with bubble hopes at best. Then, the Seminoles lost their only true strength — depth — before the season started, before following that up with multiple injuries to significant contributors. However, in spite of these hardships, Florida State put on its dancing shoes for a second consecutive season. It might be too early to call it Hamiltons best coaching job in Tallahassee (two more wins, however, and its probably time to start that conversation…), but its certainly one of his top three or four.
The question now becomes, can this overachieving Seminole squad defy expectations for a few more games?
Staff reports Two of the nations elite college baseball programs enter todays 6 p.m. confrontation at McKethan Stadium with some things to prove.
Florida, last years national champion, hopes a three-game sweep of Rhode Island has put it back on track after back-to-back losses to Central Florida earlier last week knocked the Gators to No. 2 in the rankings. The Gators (15-3) open the SEC part of their schedule this weekend at South Carolina.
“The challenge is we’re going to have to play a little bit better,” UF coach Kevin OSullivan said after last weekends home series. “We haven’t played great yet, I think up to our capabilities.
“But I think with Florida State coming up and then, obviously, traveling to start SEC play, we’re going to have to play better. And I thought this was almost like a dress rehearsal this weekend where we’re going to dial it up a little bit.”
Florida State arrives in Gainesville fresh off a doubleheader loss Saturday to Wake Forest after opening the season with 14 wins. FSU (14-2) dropped three spots in the rankings to No. 7. The Seminoles seek to return to the form they opened the season with.
The Gators have won 10 of the last 11 meetings against the Seminoles. FSU leads the all-time series 128-115-1, but the Gators lead the series in Gainesville 61-48, including 13 of the last 15. OSullivan is 22-16 against Florida State.
“What we have to do is strive to do what we’ve worked on,” FSU coach Mike Martin told the Tallahassee Democrat. “Not get base running mistakes and take advantage of opportunities and enjoy the opportunity to play in an environment like this.
“You can’t say that it’s just another game because it’s not.”
UFs pitching staff is coming off its best weekend of the year, allowing just two earned runs over 27.0 innings against Rhode Island (0.67 ERA). UF allowed just two extra base hits (double, homer) and 11 total hits, limiting the Rams to a .129 batting average.