Florida State has been to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four years. Leonard Hamilton‘s conference records during those years are (chronologically): 10-6, 10-6, 11-5, and 12-4. Last year the Seminoles were two games from tying North Carolina for the top spot in the ACC despite beating Duke and the Tar Heels (their only loss on Tobacco Road last year came at home against the Blue Devils). What held them back? A 20-point beatdown at the hands of a mediocre Clemson team to open conference play and the conference upset of the year against Boston College.
But don’t stop with conference play. Last year the Seminoles also lost to two Ivy League schools; the year before they were Auburn’s lone non-conference win against a power conference school. The years 2008-10 were much smoother, as Hamilton’s squad escaped with only a head-scratcher at home against Sidney Lowe’s NC State and a 14-point loss at a middling Northwestern squad, respectively. This year looks like more of the same, as Florida State has already lost to Southern Alabama and Mercer (at home). But what is it about these games? Are they a product of Hamilton’s system? Or are they a part of it? It may be a little of both. I don’t believe for a second that Hamilton wants those losses. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he expected them.