Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
A .500 ACC record now appears to be an uphill battle
The chances were almost non-existent - certainly less than 5% - but FSU has now officially been eliminated from an at-large bid to their 5th consecutive NCAA Tournament. The Noles spent the first half committing silly turnovers and missing shots. In the 2nd half they corrected the turnover issues, but the shots still didn't fall. I actually have very few complaints about the offense. They got the shots they wanted, but they just missed them.
FSU made 7-20 3s (35%) and Ian Miller watched at least three pop out after being halfway down. The Noles also did a good job getting to the line. But somehow the ACC's best free throw shooting only made 13-23 (57%).
Offensively, I thought FSU played a good game. Defensively, it was another story.
FSU played the first half very well. The gameplan was to run multiple guys at Erick Green, and to switch on him off of every ball screen. This meant that he often ended up being guarded by Okaro White and Robert Gilchrist, but FSU limited him to 11 points off of 10 shots in the half.
The 2nd half was completely different.
The Noles foreshadowed what was to come by suffering a complete breakdown on the first play of the 2nd half, leading to an old fashioned 3-pt play. Not much changed the rest of the way. Breakdown followed breakdown, and FSU could never mount a 2nd half run.
Okaro White had a very deceiving double-double with 18 points and 10 boards. He only played 9 first half minutes due to foul trouble, costing FSU the chance to mount a first half lead. Devon Bookert had an excellent game with 14 points, 3 assists and 1 turnover, and Aaron Thomas added 10 points.
The other bright spot was the Noles concerted effort on the boards. They only allowed 4 offensive boards off of 25 missed shots.
FSU finishes the regular season with home games vs Wake Forest, Virginia and NC State. They also mix in a road game to North Carolina.
At this point the NCAA dreams boil down to "hope that Terrance Shannon gets healthy" for the ACC Tournament. His neck injury is a great metaphor for the season. Though it wasn't injuries for this game (aside from the Shannon, Miller, Bookert injuries FSU has been dealing with for weeks). Tonight, Terry Whisnant missed the game while attending his grandmother's funeral, and Coach Hamilton was on the sidelines after attending his mother's.
It's been a tough season for FSU. Losing at Virginia Tech (even though Pomeroy had VT favored by 1) just rubs it in.