It has been the general consensus that Duke rises above all others in the ACC in basketball for this season. Sure, they are the current national champions, have most of that team’s core back for another year, and added some great new talent. The question, then, is who would become the #2 team in the conference? You could make a case for Virginia Tech, North Carolina, even Maryland. Down in Tallahassee, they are probably asking, why not the Seminoles?
Led by junior forward Chris Singleton, the Seminoles had yet to register a signature non-conference win. In its two previous games against ranked non-conference opposition, the Seminoles came up short against Florida and Ohio State. Towards the end of last week, the Seminoles would get an opportunity to show their mettle in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. With a field that included last-year’s national runner up Butler Bulldogs, a top-20 ranked Baylor squad, and several teams looking to show some improvement against quality competition, the Seminoles did rather well, winning 2 out of 3 games over the weekend. The Seminoles began the tournament with a victory over a competitive Hawaii squad that was essentially playing at home. Their victory then set up a matchup with the Butler Bulldogs, and the Seminoles hung tough before falling by 3 67-64. Florida State completed the weekend by defeating Baylor by 7, finishing in third place in the field.
The primary concern with Florida State going into the season was on the offensive end. Besides Singleton, pundits wondered where the Seminoles would get points. The skinny was that Florida State would compete with defense. Yet in Hawaii, the Seminoles did a bit of both. They also should return to the mainland with confidence that they will be able to compete and possibly beat quality teams, after not faring so well against the same type of competition earlier in the season. Does it mean they will be second in the ACC pecking order? Maybe, maybe not. But they will go into conference play feeling like they can be at least that good.