This year’s surprise in the ACC has to be the play of last year’s ACC champions Florida State. Coming off a ACC tournament championship defeating Duke and North Carolina, the Seminoles are 5-4 and are not playing good basketball in any sense of the word. Nobody expected them to be as good as last season but no one expected them to play this poorly either. They are having trouble scoring constantly but the real concern has to be their inability on defense. The Seminoles were known for their hard-nosed defense coming into this season. They are currently 8th in scoring defense in the ACC giving up 68.4 ppg and are 10th in scoring margin with a +5.3. They also have a .8 assist/turnover ratio, which is 11th in the ACC.
Florida State started off the year by losing to South Alabama, but things picked up winning their next four games, beating Buffalo, BYU, a good St. Joseph’s team, and North Florida. Then things turned as the Seminoles lost three in a row before defeating Maine. The three losses came against Minnesota, Mercer and a blowout 72-47 loss to Florida. The 61-56 loss to Mercer was especially embarrassing.
6’6 junior Okaro White (12.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg) has become a consistent second offensive option behind Michael Snaer (14.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg) but the Seminoles need more consistent outside shooting as well as better play from their group of big men to turn the season around. 6’3 guard Terry Whisnant had a nice 14-point effort against Maine. Hopefully he can help with the scoring.
Florida State will need to play much better on both sides of the ball if they can expect to have success this season in the ACC. They have four games they can win (LA-Monroe, Charlotte, Tulsa and Auburn) upcoming before ACC action starts against Clemson on January 5th.
Derell Brownlee covers the ACC for NetScouts Basketball.