A NCAA Tournament bid is looking like a long shot at this point for Florida State as the Seminoles concluded the regular season on Sunday with a 74-58 loss to Syracuse at home. FSU finishes regular season play with an 18-12 record and a 9-9 ACC record for the second straight season.
Florida State will be the 8-seed in the ACC Tournament and will take on Maryland in Greensboro on Thursday. FSU will definitely need to make some noise in the conference tournament to garner any serious NCAA consideration. The 18-12 finish is disappointing considering that the Seminoles began the season 13-5 and 4-2 to open conference action.
Though the regular season did not end as FSU had hoped, the Seminoles have now finished with a .500 or better record in ACC play six years in a row. Florida State also clinched a ninth straight winning season and will likely play in the NIT. Looking back on the regular season, here are the individuals and games that stood out for Florida State:
Regular Season Team Awards
MVP – Okaro White, F
A senior, Okaro White averaged better than 13 points-per-game and led the team with 6.6 rebounds-per-contest. White also shot 52 percent from the field and was an unquestioned leader on the floor. In his final four regular season games, White averaged better than 20 points. White finished the season with a team-high five double-doubles.
Rookie of the Year – Jarquez Smith, F
The only newcomer to see action for Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles, Jarquez Smith averaged 2.5 points and 1.6 rebounds-per-game. Though Smith hardly had a monster season, he showed great athleticism and decent touch on his shot. Smith is just one of the reasons that Florida State fans should be optimistic about the future of the program.
Most Pleasant Surprise – Aaron Thomas, G
After averaging just six points as a freshman, Aaron Thomas emerged as one of Florida State’s biggest weapons on both ends of the court. Thomas averaged a team-high 14.1 points-per-game while leading the Seminoles with 1.5 steals each time out. Thomas was also third on the team in rebounding and assists.
Biggest Disappointment – Xavier Rathan-Mayes, G
Xavier Rathan-Mayes never played a game for the Seminoles during the 2013-14 season due to being academically ineligible. Rathan-Mayes was the biggest incoming recruit for FSU and his failures in the classroom left Florida State incredibly thin at the guard position. Having a freshman with his talent could have made a major difference this season.
Best Win – November 21st in San Juan: Florida State 85, #10 Virginia Commonwealth 67
Against 10th-ranked Virginia Commonwealth, Florida State opened the Puerto Rico Tip-Off with a bang. The Seminoles blew away the Rams thanks to 22 points off the bench from Ian Miller and a suffocating defense that held VCU below 30 percent shooting from the field. Four Seminoles scored in double-figures as FSU cruised to victory.
Worst Loss – February 10th in Tallahassee: Miami 77, Florida State 73
In a game that Florida State absolutely had to win, the Seminoles were beat at home by rival Miami. The Hurricanes at the time, were just 11-12 and 2-8 in ACC play, but shot 7-for-15 from downtown against FSU. Devon Bookert’s 17 points and five assists were not enough as Florida State suffered its worst loss of the season.
Though the Seminoles notched their ninth straight winning season and a likely postseason appearance, a season that began with such great promise ended on a sour note for Florida State. FSU was able to knock off three of the RPI’s top 50 teams, but the Seminoles also had bad losses to Miami and Maryland.
Florida State did see improvement from its many sophomores including Aaron Thomas, Montay Brandon, Boris Bojanovsky and Devon Bookert, but the lack of depth at guard finally caught up to the Seminoles. Seniors Okaro White and Ian Miller each had solid seasons for Florida State, but at this point, that too has not been enough to get FSU into the field of 68.
While the Seminoles are currently on the outside looking in, that could change with a solid showing in Greensboro at the ACC Tournament. If FSU is still playing come next weekend, the Seminoles will at least garner some consideration from the NCAA selection committee. For that to happen, the Seminoles will need to beat the Terrapins and upset top-seed Virginia. For FSU to feel confident about its chances, it may even need get to the ACC title game on Sunday.