Florida State started this year as one of the bottom feeders in the ACC. Most "experts" picked them to finish at around the 10th slot in a very top heavy conference. Most agreed, that while they were very talented, they were also very young and inexperienced.
Since then, the Seminoles have given the rest of the ACC notice that they should not be overlooked. Not only are they big, athletic, and talented, but they have something that past Seminole teams haven't seen since Charlie Ward and Sam Cassell gave it a run in the early nineties: the ability to come back from both deficits and losses. These Seminoles will not stay down. They get back up, dust themselves off, and get back at it.
This ability, coupled with strong defense, has allowed them to rebound from losses that in the past have started colossal collapses. Watching them lose to Wake this year, and follow it up with a great win against Miami, was a new experience for me. I was fully ready to accept a slide down into the bottom of the ACC standings. I had seen it before.
This, however, is a resilient team. They have not lost back to back games yet this season. They were able to recover from a devastating last second loss to UNC, a crushing defeat at the hands of Wake, and a momentum stopping loss to BC.
So where do they go from here? There are two difficult games left on the regular season schedule, at Duke, and at home against Virginia Tech. Both are winnable games.
The Duke game, obviously, is the tougher win. Cameron Indoor is never a fun place for any team not wearing Duke on their chest to play. The Noles match up well with the Dukies though. FSU is bigger, and ,when playing defense like they did in yesterday's win over Clemson, can contain Duke's offensive power.
The key is the FSU offense. They must get control of their emotions, and virtually eliminate the turnovers that they are very prone to making. Otherwise, it could be a long trip home from Tobacco Road.
VT is an interesting game, because a lot will depend on what happens prior to tip off. On paper, FSU should win the game. It is in Tallahassee, and the Noles are a better team.
Sitting at 17-10, the Hokies must win both of their remaining games to make the Big Dance, at home against UNC (have fun with that one), and at FSU. A big loss to UNC could derail their psyche and make it difficult to rebound on the road.
I look for FSU to give Duke a great game on the road, but lose in a low scoring affair 68 - 62, and then come home and put a true beat down on VT, winning 73-58. This would bring their overall record to 23 - 8, setting them up for a solid four or five seed in the NCAA tournament.
A win or two in the ACC tournament could alter their seed as well. However, unless they get rolled in the first round, I don't see FSU's tournament play really affecting where the end up.