Florida State’s Offense: Underrated or Unsustainable?Posted by KCarpenter on February 1st, 2012
There is no doubt that the way the Seminoles are playing right now, they are underrated. The defense is good, but let’s be totally clear, the reason that Florida State is on a crazy five-game winning streak that includes a dominating win over North Carolina and a win over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium isn’t because of their defense (well, I mean, partly obviously, but roll with the rhetoric). Florida State is winning because of what appears, at this moment, to be one of the more unstoppable offenses in the ACC. I know that probably sounds wrong, but it’s true. Right now, Florida State has the fourth-best defense in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In conference play, the best defensive efficiency numbers belong to Virginia and North Carolina, which isn’t too surprising. More surprising? Third place is North Carolina State. In conference play, the Wolfpack have been better defensively than the Seminoles. Leonard Hamilton‘s team is still playing pretty well defensively, but despite their reputation, Florida State’s win streak is due to torrid, red hot offense.
Duke owns the best offense in conference play, but Florida State actually has had better offensive execution than every other team in the conference. In fact, Florida State has played better offense than North Carolina in conference play. That might seem crazy to you, and you might be thinking that I have gone off the deep end, diving into a pool of stat-wonk Kool-Aid, but if you don’t trust efficiency stats, just check out shooting percentages. Since the beginning of conference play, Florida State has shot 41.2% from beyond the arc, easily the best mark in the ACC. Here is a quick list of field goal percentages from the Seminoles’ last four games.
- 50.9% vs. Wake Forest
- 54.0% vs. Duke
- 47.5% vs. Maryland
- 48.4% vs. North Carolina
This is genuinely impressive. After Florida State beat the Tar Heels, it was easy to dismiss the victory as a few key guys getting hot at the right time. What do you call it when an entire team is hot for four games though? Is this a fluke? It’s harder to tell. One thing that does jump out is that over the course of the whole year, the Seminoles have been shooting a very average 33.5% from beyond the arc. This seems to suggest that Florida State is riding a hot streak of some significance. That said, the shooting percentages of individual players haven’t skyrocketed much past their career averages. Deividas Dulkys is shooting better than any other season in his career, but only by a few percentage points. The same is true of Michael Snaer. The team’s other three-point shooters haven’t shown crazy/unrealistic improvements from deep either. What does this mean? Well, Florida State will probably not close out the year shooting over 40% from the three-point line. However, it’s not unreasonable to see how modest improvements in the team’s overall three-point shooting combined with a decreased turnover percentage have led to a much-improved FSU offense.
I don’t think Florida State has the second best offense in the ACC, but I do think that the improvement the Seminoles have shown over the past few games isn’t a coincidence. Florida State’s offense really is better than the general public thinks although probably not as good as the past few games suggest. Game-by-game, Hamilton is molding his crew into a complete team that will do damage on both ends come March.