After a 12-4 start, Florida State has dropped three of its last four games following a 74-70 loss to N.C. State in Raleigh on Wednesday night. The loss concluded a stretch in which the Seminoles played four of five games on the road.
Florida State rallied from an eight-point deficit in the second half and actually grabbed a 64-61 lead with under six and a half minutes to play, but the Wolfpack closed the game on a 13-6 run. With its brutal road stretch over, FSU now returns home for a pair of games it absolutely must win.
To call the middle of the pack in the ACC crowded would be an understatement. Six teams currently have a record of 4-3, 4-4 or 3-4 and two of them play at the Donald L. Tucker Center this weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, the Seminoles (13-7, 4-4 ACC) will host Clemson in a game that Florida State desperately needs. Clemson is currently 4-3 and in fifth place in the ACC, but FSU won the first match-up between the teams this season at Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Tigers boast a 13-6 overall record, but Florida State held Clemson to a season-low 41 points when the teams first met back in early January. While FSU is the only visiting team to win at Clemson this season, the Tigers don’t have a road victory over a team that currently has an overall winning record.
Next Wednesday, Florida State welcomes in the ACC’s worst team, Virginia Tech. The Hokies are just 1-7 in conference and a dismal 8-12 overall. Thanks largely to the loss of Erick Green to graduation, Virginia Tech is just 270th in the country in scoring.
With the recent stretch in which FSU has dropped three of four contests, the Seminoles have fallen from a team who looked to have a very good chance to get into the NCAA Tournament to a team on the bubble. ACC foes like Clemson, Maryland, Wake Forest, North Carolina and N.C. State are all on the bubble as well and four of Florida State’s final 10 games come against those teams.
Florida State doesn’t have any bad losses to its name, but how the Seminoles play at home and against teams in a similar position in the ACC will go a long way in determining whether or not FSU will make the NCAA Tournament. Six of Florida State’s final 10 games are in Tallahassee and for the ‘Noles to make a case for a NCAA bid, they will need to take care of business there.
FSU’s next two games against Clemson and Virginia Tech are each games that Florida State must win. Clemson is a team in a position similar to the Seminoles and winning will be the best way for FSU to separate itself from the other ACC teams still on the bubble. As far as Virginia Tech is concerned, the Seminoles can’t allow the Hokies to become their first bad loss of the season, especially at home.