With just two weeks remaining before ACC play starts for Florida State, the Seminoles will be looking to bolster their non-conference resume’. FSU currently sits at 6-3, but have let opportunities for signature victories slip through its fingers in the non-conference.
In Puerto Rico, Florida State was able to capture an 85-67 victory over Virginia Commonwealth, but let a 16-point lead slip away in an 82-80 semifinal overtime loss to Michigan. Florida State also rallied to draw even with rival Florida late, but a last second free throw gave the Gators a 67-66 lead and Florida held on once Ian Miller’s halfcourt heave came up just long.
In the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Florida State also was on the short end of a 71-61 score at Minnesota. While the Seminoles suffered their biggest loss of the season, the contest was not decided until the final two minutes.
Though Florida State has come up just short of notching a couple significant non-conference victories, there is still opportunity to impress before FSU hosts Virginia on January 4th in the ACC opener for both teams.
On Tuesday night, Florida State will host a Charlotte squad that is off to a promising start for a second year in a row. Charlotte won the Puerto Rico Tip-Off by upsetting Michigan in the final. At 7-2, Charlotte also has a solid victory over Kansas State at a neutral location.
Although this year’s contest will be in Tallahassee, it was Florida State that handed the 49ers their first home loss a season ago. The Seminoles held on for a 79-76 victory behind a career-high 30 points from Michael Snaer. Charlotte may not be off to an 11-1 start as it was a year ago, but its resume’ early on is stronger this season.
The fact that this contest is at the Donald L. Tucker Center should prove to be an advantage for Florida State as well as FSU is off to a 3-0 start at home this season.
Saturday’s game in Sunrise, Florida at the Orange Bowl Classic will provide an even bigger opportunity for Florida State as the Seminoles visit a ranked UMASS squad. Massachusetts is currently 9-0 with wins over LSU, Boston College, Clemson, New Mexico, Nebraska and BYU.
While Charlotte has the look of a solid squad, a victory over UMASS would really look good on a resume’ come tournament time. Florida State will conclude non-conference action with a game on December 30th at home against Charleston Southern.
While the 49ers and Minutemen should provide big challenges for Florida State, the Seminoles will come in well rested. Florida State has not played since defeating Jacksonville State 77-53 last Sunday.
Okaro White led Florida State with 17 points in that one while center Boris Bojanovsky added a career-high 15 points on a perfect 5-for-5 from the field. Bojanovsky also added four blocks and Montay Brandon scored in double figures for the fifth time in nine games this season.
All three will be needed as Florida State’s non-conference schedule comes to a close. Regardless of what happens in the three remaining games before ACC play starts, FSU will have a chance to prove itself to the selection committee with what it does in the ACC. Having two or three solid wins outside of conference however, would only bolster the Seminoles’ chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six years.