Well, now we have the first peek at the 2010-2011 version of the FSU basketball team against a worthy opponent. The results? Very similar to last season to the dismay of FSU basketball fans and fans of competent offensive basketball alike.
Florida State fields a much more talented team than Florida but this team just isn't being developed properly on the offensive end. Prior to the game I stated that the keys to winning were simple, hold on to the ball and exploit the height mismatch. The Seminoles did neither.
The Seminoles committed only 14 turnovers but that number would be closer to 20 if you count terrible shots late in the shot clock. The Gators' full court press forced FSU into a panic and they couldn't beat the 2-3 zone out of our flex offense.
Sidebar offense rant- When you have a team built around athleticism and inefficiency you need to run an up-tempo offense in the full court and an offense with a lot of motion and screens in the half court. The idea is you want to increase possessions in order to capitalize on volume rather than efficiency. In the half court you want to cause mismatches through screens against a man defense or create an overload on one side of the zone that forces the zone to stretch. This is accomplished by playing 4 men on the perimeter (or three guys on one side of the court) which causes the center to leave the paint in order to cover the extra man. After this happens, you either find a forward covering the center one on one in the paint or the back side of the zone vulnerable to a cross court three.
Instead Hamilton runs a flex offense built around essentially getting the defense to fall asleep on their zone assignment or aggressive penetration to collapse the zone and either score or kick the ball out to an open shooter. None of our guards are confident enough to attack the zone for some reason. I counted at least 5 different times where Kitchen specifically would take 4 or 5 dribbles into the zone before turning around and dribbling back toward the three point line and kicking it to another player. It seems like these guys are afraid that if they miss they won't play.
The flex offense can work. I've seen UConn, Duke, and Villanova run it from time to time with decent results. It's just a terrible fit for our team. It shows inflexibility or ignorance from Coach Hamilton because he's either unaware of the true strengths of this team or too stubborn to change his coaching style.
Flex offense means efficiency, confidence in player roles, and dribble penetration. This FSU team doesn't fit any of these marks.
It should have been obvious based on last years game that UF will try to force our guards into making poor decisions with a full court press. Generally in sports you don't see the same strategy work from season to season because coaches will make it a point to erase that weakness in practice. UF's same gameplan worked again. I can't understand that.
Singleton still isn't a primary option on offense. He's very much an "Andre Iguodala" type of guy who can score, defend, handle the ball a bit, rebound, but shouldn't really be counted upon to carry the team offensively. He had a terrible game offensively with 8 points on 2-12 shooting. UF made it a point to shut him down and they did. Singleton played phenomenal defense though. He had 2 blocks, 2 steals, and played a huge role in holding Parsons and Tyus to 9 points combined.
Snaer had the only good offensive performance. He hit 5 threes and the game would have been a blowout without him in the second half.
Gibson needs to attack the defensive glass better. He had a decent game despite fouling out.
Speaking of fouls, there was a lot of weak calls while our guys were boxing out for rebounds or jumping in the air.
When you force a team to shoot 39%, miss 8 free throws, and turn the ball over 17 times you aren't going to lose many games. Last year we played worse against UF and still managed a pretty good season. FSU should go far in the ACC this year. It is just frustrating seeing the same mistakes being made over and over. Tuesday is the opportunity for redemption although a win or a close game shouldn't be expected.