The Florida State men’s basketball team has a history that dates back to the 1950s. For the most part, it is a history of ineptitude.
FSU has just 13 appearances in the NCAA tournament in the last 55 years. By contrast, the Seminoles’ ACC rival Duke has had 13 appearances in the last 13 years.
This season, however, the Seminoles find themselves atop the ACC standings, and are currently sporting a five-game winning streak that includes a 33-point drubbing of North Carolina, and a win in Durham, which snapped Duke’s 45-game winning streak at home.
From the Palm Beach Post, Tom D’Angelo joined Bill to discuss the improved hoops team in Tallahassee.
“This has been a 10-year project for [head coach] Leonard Hamilton,” D’Angelo said. “Until three years ago, he had not even made the tournament. But the last three years, they have bought into his philosophy of defense, defense, defense.”
Despite their recent success, Florida State has had some struggles this season. The ‘Noles’ six losses include defeats at the hands of Harvard and Princeton.
“For all these teams, things go along pretty good early because most teams play competition well beneath them, and then all of a sudden they’re 0-2 in the Ivy League,” D’Angelo said. “They got blown out by Michigan State. They got blown out by Florida.”
However, in an interview this week, Hamilton told D’Angelo losing was important for his team. Although the roster features several returning seniors, many of them were thrust into new, unfamiliar roles, and the adjustments took time.
“[Hamilton] believes it took six losses for them to start understanding each other, and he thinks that played a part in their lack of development early,” D’Angelo said.
Unless the team reverts to struggling against lesser competition, D’Angelo sees Florida State as a squad that’s ready to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.
“The only team besides Duke left on their schedule that’s ranked is No. 19, Virginia,” D’Angelo said. “It’s really set up for them to have their best season ever in the ACC. They’re looking at a top 3 [or] 4 [seed] in the NCAA tournament, if they finish No. 1 or No. 2 in the ACC.”