For the second straight season the Florida State Seminoles ended up with a solid enough resume to play in the NCAA Tournament, but once again were beat in the opening round, as they fell to Gonzaga in the first round 67-60. Florida State ended up 10-6 in the ACC for the second consecutive year, but will have a tough time repeating in 2010, as they lost two of their best post players from last year in Solomon Alabi and Ryan Reid. Head coach Leonard Hamilton has turned this program around over the last five years, as Duke, North Carolina, and Maryland are the only schools that have won more conference games over that time period. For a general idea of what Florida State will play like this year, here is short breakdown of what Florida State returns from last year and the players they have added to the team during the offseason.
Looking at the NCAA basketball lines for the upcoming season, Florida State currently has the fourth best line to win the ACC at +800, but aren’t likely to do much if they get into the tournament, as they currently have +6000 odds to win the National Championship.
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Backcourt: Florida State brings back all of their guards from last year, but in order for them to remain one of the top teams in the ACC they are going to require a huge year out of junior Chris Singleton, who averaged 10 points and 7 boards and was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Singleton did a lot of work with NBA players to improve his all-around game this offseason, as the Seminoles desperately need him to put up more points this season. Senior Derwin Kitchen and junior Luke Loucks will likely split time at the point, and better get the job done early or Hamilton could turn to freshman Ian Miller. Adding depth behind Singleton is sophomore Michael Snaer, who made the ACC All-Freshman team, and junior sharpshooter Dievidas Dukys, who made nearly 40% of his shots behind the line last season.
Frontcourt: There is no question that the team is going to miss the inside play of Alabi and Reid. While neither really provided a lot of offense, they were excellent defenders and really kept locked down the paint. Taking the place of Alabi and Reid will be junior college transfer Bernard James and redshirt freshman Jon Kreft. James will have a decent number of rebounds, while Florida State believes Kreft is a more talented offensively than either Alabi or Reid. Junior Xavier Gibson has continued to improve and will likely battle James for the starting role inside, but either way figures to be a very large piece to Florida State’s success this year.
Prediction – 6th ACC: I think Florida State is the wild card team of the conference this season, as I believe they could be very good and at the same time I could see this team really struggling. Offensively they really don’t have a lot of offensive punch other than Singleton and I believe they are going to take a big hit defensively with the loss of Reid and Alabi on the inside. Florida State was the third worst scoring team in the ACC last year and ended up dead last in free throw percentage. Even if the defense remains strong, I am just not sure if they will be able to score enough to contend with the top teams in this conference. While my expectations aren’t high, there is still enough talent for Florida State to return to the NCAA Tournament, but I can’t see them lasting long if they make it.
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