Bubble Watch: 5 Reasons Why Florida State Won’t Make the Big Dance
Florida State Seminoles: 5 Reasons Why They Won't Be Dancing in March
Traditionally, the Florida State Seminoles have never been an easy out in the ACC. The Seminoles have built a reputation of annually knocking some of the ACC's best teams, especially the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels. Florida State has been .500 or better in the conference each of the last five seasons, and the only year when the Seminoles were just .500 (9-9) was last season.
So much, however, has changed this season for Florida State that it's fair now to set the Seminoles aside from the pile of teams the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee is going to take seriously for an invitation to the big dance come mid-March. While Florida State played a very good non-conference schedule, and earned some wins, the conference slate has been a melancholy journey to mediocrity. Florida State doesn't pass any appreciable measure needed to be an NCAA tournament team. Even just by using the eye test and comparing it to other teams in the ACC and other teams around the country, Florida State (15-10, 6-7 ACC) doesn't stand up as a team worthy of inclusion in the NCAA tournament.
It would be harsh to call this Florida State season a failure, though if/when the Seminoles don't make the tournament. That's probably how their fans are going to view it. Florida State isn't a bad basketball team by any stretch and the Seminoles have shown rare glimpses this season of being a very good team. But they haven't delivered that eye-opening performance against one of the ACC's best that makes everyone realize how good they are. Because of that, Florida State can't be considered an NCAA tournament team.
Here are five reasons why Florida State won't make the tournament this season.
5. Florida State Commits Too Many Turnovers
Throughout the 2013-14 college basketball season, Florida State has had a lot of trouble holding on to the basketball. The Seminoles get assists on only about half of their baskets (12-of-25 per game), but more troubling is that they turn the ball over 14 times per game. Good teams aren't going to turn the ball over more often than they earn assists. Devon Bookert (72) and Ian Miller (68) lead the team in assists, but also have committed 116 turnovers combined. That just isn't good enough.
4. Florida State's Overall & Conference Records Just Aren't Good Enough
At this point of the season, there are four types of teams. The first are the elite, such as Florida, Wichita State, Syracuse, etc. The second are the very good, such as San Diego State, Kansas and Duke. The third are the bubble teams, either slightly down teams from major conferences or teams with gaudy records from small conferences (such as Stephen F. Austin). Florida State is in the fourth category, which includes teams with too many losses already. FSU has 10 defeats to its record and is under .500 (6-7) in the ACC. Early-season wins over ranked teams such as VCU and Massachusetts won't help Florida State much given how the rest of the season has went.
3. Florida State Lacks Signature Wins
Florida State's case for inclusion in the NCAA tournament looked pretty good when it was still in the non-conference portion of the season. The Seminoles hammered then-No. 10 VCU and beat then-No. 22 Massachusetts. An overtime loss to Michigan and one-point defeat to Florida did nothing to hurt FSU's cause. But in ACC play, the Seminoles don't have any noteworthy wins. The combined conference record of the six ACC schools Florida State has beaten is a miserable 26-48. None of the conference teams the Seminoles have defeated currently have a winning record in the ACC.
2. Florida State's Remaining Schedule is Too Tough
What Florida State needs more than anything right now to save its season is wins, and the remaining five games facing the Seminoles in the ACC regular season don't offer a lot of victory chances. The two games FSU is most likely to win are at home to Georgia Tech and at Boston College. But FSU's other three are nightmarish. The Seminoles host North Carolina and go to Pittsburgh, and end the season at home to Syracuse. The combined conference record of FSU's remaining opponents is 33-27. Even a win over one of the three big teams probably comes too late at this point.
1. Florida State Struggles Offensively
From a pure numbers standpoint, Florida State's average of 71 points per game doesn't seem that bad. But it barely gets the Seminoles into the top 200 nationally in that stat. But there are games where it has been clear that the Seminoles aren't capable of scoring enough points to win. In four matchups against the ACC's best defenses (Virginia and Clemson), the Seminoles only managed a total of 221 points, an average of a lowly 55.3 PPG, almost 16 full points less than their season average. NCAA tournament teams find points in tough games to win and FSU hasn't been able to do that this season.