It has been a great last few days for the Florida State Seminoles, winners of four straight conference games. You could be forgiven if you had written off the Seminoles after losing to Princeton and Harvard. You could be forgiven if you paid no attention after the Seminoles lost the first conference game by twenty points to Clemson. Granted, the game was at Clemson, but twenty points? Especially when Florida State was still under some consideration as the third-best team in the conference?
Let’s just say that no one is overlooking the Seminoles now.
Sprinkled in those four consecutive conference triumphs was a thirty-three point beatdown of presumed national title contender North Carolina. Yes, the game was in Tallahassee, but how does a team a) beat the Tar Heels by that much anywhere; and b) score 90 points in the process? The Seminoles make their name on the defensive side of the ball, but in the last few games, it has been the offense that has stepped up. Nowhere was that more noticeable than in the Seminoles most recent triumph over Duke, at the cauldron known as Cameron Indoor Stadium. Florida State came from behind, scoring fifty points in the second half-finishing with a game-winning three point shot by Michael Snaer.
In fact, it is the offense that is making Florida State look good lately-so good, they are now tied for the conference lead with Duke and North Carolina State. There are still eleven more conference games to go, and it says here the Seminoles reputation for tight defense will reappear long after the offensive hot streak disappears. Even so, the Seminoles won’t have to face the Tar Heels again, and they get another shot at Duke at home late next month-and if they can remain consistent and keep winning the games they should, they can stay in the running for the conference title, and a decent seed in March. There’s a lot of basketball yet to be played though.
One game is on the schedule for the ‘Noles this week, a road game against on-again, off-again Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons split its two games last week, getting toasted at Duke, but beating Boston College, one of last week’s surprise teams. This game is similar to the Maryland game for the Seminoles-it’s a game they should win, but it follows a big win over one of the two top teams in the conference. A win will help prove that Florida State could be in the conference race for the long haul.
Last week’s notable results: Virginia Tech got its first conference win, beating Virginia in Charlottesville; North Carolina State swept its two games over Boston College and Miami; setting up a big showdown in Chapel Hill Thursday night against the Tar Heels; North Carolina bounced back from its loss in Tallahassee by defeating the Hokies, but lost guard Dexter Strickland for the season.
Looking ahead: Maryland tries to shake off losses to Florida State and Temple when Duke comes to the Comcast Center tonight in the first of two home games. The court will be named in Gary Williams’ honor prior to tip-off-but who knows whether the ceremony will give the Terps what they need to upset the Blue Devils? The aforementioned Wolfpack vs. Tar Heels matchup will see if the Heels can rejoin the top of the conference, or whether N.C. State can keep rolling along. Virginia Tech has a big game tonight against BYU in Blacksburg-a win would give the Hokies a boost in its quest to return to the NCAA tournament.