Don’t Sleep On Florida StatePosted by KCarpenter on November 28th, 2011
The Seminoles had a tough weekend, taking a pair of losses to Harvard and Connecticut. With their already marginal status in the polls, Florida State looks poised to slip from the public consciousness, which is a shame, because despite their offensive deficiencies, the defense is as nasty as ever and close losses at neutral sites against talented teams is hardly a severe indictment. Still, polls tend to punish losses regardless of context, Leonard Hamilton‘s crew is just going to have to play the same way they have played for the past two years: outside the limelight. The Seminoles are used to it, but nonetheless, it’s a shame, because the team has strung together a series of ridiculous defensive stands.
There are two things that this team does ridiculously well: force missed jumpers and get their hands on the ball. On the season, FSU has held opponents to 22.8% from beyond the arc, blocked nearly 20% of opponents shots, and stolen the ball on nearly 15% of opponent’s possessions. Over one third of opponent’s offensive possessions ends with a block or a steal. That’s staggering. Connecticut’s starting back court of Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb turned the ball over ten times against this defense. In the three games prior to the Connecticut game, the Seminoles held Harvard, Massachusetts, and South Alabama to a combined seven of sixty-six from beyond the arc. That’s 10.6% from three over the a three=game span. Is there any other team in the country capable of that kind of lock-down? The defense is just nasty.
Of course, the offense is nasty as well, but in the traditional sense. If missed shots and turnovers are the hallmarks of Florida State’s defense, I’d have to also characterize those two elements as the hallmarks of Florida State’s offense. Any game that the Seminoles play in is going to be ugly if you like sweet-shooting guard play or effortless offense. Nothing comes easy against the Florida State defense, and the team’s collective ability to frustrate opponents is one of the most compelling sights in college basketball. Florida State is out of the spotlight for now, but you should make an effort to keep track of them anyway. A defense this good will always be a factor come March.