Conference: ACC (At-Large)
Record: 25-8 (12-6)
NCAA Tournament Seed:
How they got to the Big Dance
After an early bad loss to Temple in non-conference play, Florida State got hot. The Seminoles rattled off 12 wins in a row after that loss, including victories over Minnesota, Florida, Virginia and Duke, to get off to a 16-1 overall start to the season. Leonard Hamilton’s team continued to hold its own throughout ACC play, and finished 12-6 in the league, while also picking up big wins over Notre Dame and Louisville. Florida State earned the No. 2 seed in the ACC Tournament and took down Virginia Tech in its first game before falling to Notre Dame in the semifinal round. The Seminoles fell behind early against the Irish and a furious comeback in the final minutes fell short.
Why they’re a legitimate contender
Florida State is so dangerous because they have so many offensive weapons who can attack at any time. The Seminoles sport a top-20 offense, scoring 82.5 points per game and shooting 48.3 percent from the field. Much of Florida State’s scoring comes from sophomore guard Dwayne Bacon, who tallies 16.9 points per game. Bacon’s athleticism at the rim and his ability to shoot the rock make him and Florida State dangerous.
The Seminoles also may have the most intimidating frontcourt in the country. Centers Christ Koumadje and Michael Ojo combine for about 22 minutes per game, and both stand taller than 7-foot-1. The two combine for just 1.9 blocks per game, but alter many more shots in the paint. No guard wants to drive into the lane and run into a 7-foot-4 big man like Koumadje.
Why they’re not a legitimate contender
Despite being able to score at the rim as well as anyone in the country, the Seminoles aren’t a great 3-point shooting team. Hamilton’s team shoots only 35.6 percent from long range and has only one player that averages more than 10 minutes per game and shoots better than 40 percent from deep. While Florida State has the ability to dominate teams on the inside, if it faces off with another big team in the tournament, the Seminoles will have a tough time relying on the 3-point shot.
Player to Watch: Forward Jonathan Isaac
Although Bacon is Florida State’s leading scorer, Jonathan Isaac may be the most dangerous player on this team. At 6-foot-10, he can guard every position on the floor and presents matchup problems for the opposing defense whenever he is in the game. The freshman is averaging 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game this season, but that doesn’t tell the entire story. Isaac shoots better than 50 percent from the floor, and can step out and shoot the three at a 35.3 percent clip. He has also had success getting to the line this season, and is shooting almost 80 percent from the charity stripe. Isaac is the high-flyer that makes Florida State sometimes almost impossible to stop on the offensive end.
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