If you're a lucky fan, the college basketball season has six parts. At first you're just trying to figure out what sort of team you have, and then that is interrupted by a Holiday tournament. Then you get he rest of the out-of-conference season which leads into the punch-heavy days of conference play. Suddenly it is March and four parts are gone. There is the conference tourney, which can end in a day, and then the post-season tourney which is just as ephemeral.
The first five parts are done for FSU, and now there is just the wait. The Noles will be playing somewhere on either Tuesday or Wednesday. It is the NIT or the CBI. Both tournaments offer free practice time and further exposure, and it's no surprise that teams which did well last year used them as a boost heading into this season.
Tonight's game was more of the season long demons. FSU committed 18 turnovers and made just 3-12 3-point shots. Michael Snaer scored 20 points on 8-12 shooting (passing Al Thornton along the way), and added 7 rebounds and 5 assists, but got little help from his teammates. Okaro White was in early foul trouble, Snaer's teammates missed every three they attempted, and no one else was in double figures.
For UNC, PJ Hairston continued his Scott Wood impression. He's an above average 3-pt shooter (36% vs everyone not in garnet and gold) but he made 5-6 tonight and has now made 71% of his 3s vs FSU this season. Many were NBA threes with a defender hanging all over him.
UNC also got to the rim early and often. They made 21-41 2s. They didn't turn the ball over. They won 83-62 and at this point you just tip your hat to the better team and move on to the next game.
Where that next game occurs is the question. I think the NIT will pick FSU up, but it's a completely political and money based process. FSU's fan support is awful, which will scare the NIT away. The question is whether it will scare them away entirely. They won't pick (IMO) FSU as a road team. So I think we'll be playing at home in the NIT or at home in the CBI. And, frankly, which tournament makes no difference. Both are not the NCAA Tournament, and so both are sideshows. But they're important sideshows. The staff gets more time with the players. The players get a chance to face the win-or-go-home pressure. It's a win-win.
It's not the end we wanted. And it's not the end I think we'd be getting if Ian Miller hadn't of broken his foot and Terrance Shannon hadn't injured his neck. Injuries are part of the game though, and you have to play the hand you're dealt.
So on to part six of the season for FSU. The next game might be the last chance to watch Michael Snaer, who, when all is said and done, will be talked about in the same breath as Bob Sura and Bernard James and Doug Edwards and a host of other Seminole greats. He changed the program. The least you can do is pay attention to the end.