Florida State has always been a football school, so it's understandable if 'Nole fans are late to get on the basketball bandwagon. The season is still young, and Florida State is 3-0 against the typical early season schedule fodder. But those paying attention have to be impressed. Very impressed. Over the weekend, Florida State took on Mercer and ruined its homecoming 89-50, in a game that could have been much, much uglier. Here's the chart:
And it's not as if Mercer is a horrible basketball team. They almost upset Providence, losing 79-77. Florida State had one of the most impressive defensive games I have ever seen. Mercer didn't make a 2-point field goal in the first half. Florida State held them to an effective field goal percentage of under 25% and rarely fouled! Here are some highlights:
The 'Noles aren't just winning. Florida State is crushing its opponents.
|Mon Nov 16||Jacksonville (sked)||W, 87-61||H||74||118.2||67.3||25.8||46.1||55.8||82.9||35.8||20.4||28.6||40.0|
|Wed Nov 18||Stetson (sked)||W, 80-38||H||65||122.2||51.5||16.8||51.4||21.2||58.0||34.3||26.0||16.2||17.6|
|Sat Nov 21||Mercer (sked)||W, 89-50||A||76||116.6||66.7||18.4||24.6||59.3||65.5||24.6||26.2||40.6||32.4|
And despite what you might think, crushing lesser opponents is a sign of a really good team. The 'Noles have performed as the 2nd best team in the country to date, adjusted for competition level. Admittedly the sample size is only three games, but it is very encouraging to see the 'Noles joined in the top 20 by the likes of (1) Texas, (3) Maryland, (6) Clemson, (8) Tennessee, (9) Duke, (10) Missouri, (11) Xavier, (14) Texas A&M, (16) Wake Forest, (18) Syracuse, and (20) Purdue.
And they are doing it with head coach Leonard Hamilton's trademark defense. No team in the country can match Florida State's size, as the 'Noles start 7'1" Center Solomon Alabi, 6'11" PF Xavier Gibson (or Ryan Reid), and 6'9" SF Chris Singleton. In fact, against Florida State, opponents have had more shots blocked than made baskets! You read that correctly. Florida State is blocking 29.4% of opposing shots, the best mark in the country by a healthy margin, while allowing less than 26% shooting.
Florida State takes on Florida tomorrow night in Gainesville. Tomahawk Nation will have its customary in-depth preview of what should be a great matchup. It will be the first major test for what could be a very special team.