Part of this is due to the realization that March is just nine days away and the boys in garnet and gold now have a mountain of work to do if they wish to earn an at-large bid. Another part of it is due to FSU having the week off after playing twice in a span of three days. The team will use this time off to rest, recover, and prepare their minds for a trip into the Oakland Zoo. The fans, well we just wait and hope. Hope and wait.<p>
"In the second half Marcus…had the look in his eye."<p>
"If we take care of our short term goals, long term goals will be taken care of."<p>
"[Meeks] made one jump shot in the first half…and the rest of them you could cough it in."<p>
"The first timeout I called I didn’t do any coaching, I just screamed at them. I thought that’s what they needed."<p>
"It was a very hard fought game…I just thought they had a little more depth than we did; were fresher."<p>
"Once they cut the lead down it was nip and tuck, and then Paige hit some shots when we went to zone."<p>
"We are not quite as deep as we have been in the past."<p>
"I thought that our guys played with a tremendous amount of energy…we just got beat by a team that had a little more firepower than we did during a stretch in the second half."<p>
"We have five sophomores and a freshman that are really now grasping the focus, the intensity, the mental aspect of competing at this level in the ACC. That’s part of the process, learning how to push through fatigue…we had one guy play 40 minutes, one 37, one 36. In order to play the way we like to play, we like to keep that around 28 or 29."<p>
I think that our guys will bounce back. I think they are more determined…the body language was good. They never had a defeatist attitude."<p>
"I think he’s a very good player…he’s always been a guy who can finish around the basket." –On Kennedy Meeks<p>
"Moving Okaro to the 4 position takes away the rotation we were using on the perimeter. But this is who we are this particular year. That’s the hand that’s been dealt to us and we have to play through it, learn from it, and as we move onto the future I think we’ll solve that challenge."<p>
"You’ll see, probably a couple of our walk-ons getting some minutes as we move on through the remainder of our conference race."<p>
"That’s who [Montay] is right now; he’s a 6’7 guy with good dibbling skills and a big, strong body and we’re encouraging him to be much more aggressive going to the basket…I thought he played to his strengths tonight." –On Montay Brandon taking the ball to the hoop more this game<p>
"Montay spends as much time in the gym as any player that I’ve ever coached. He spends a lot of time working on his free throws, his perimeter shooting, and his dribbling. He’s a gym rat to say the least."<p>
"I was kind of expecting it…but I gotta do a better job of maintaining." –On playing the full 40 minutes<p>
"We did a good job as a team, we just came up short."<p>
"There’s a lot of momentum in the locker room…we sticking together. We played hard the whole 40 minutes. We had some spurts down the stretch where we were undisciplined on defense."<p>
"[The loss] is definitely frustrating, but we know we have some more opportunities…so we gotta stay together and stay focused."<p>
"We are using it in a positive way." –when asked about the effect of the loss on the locker room
"We started quicker, that’s for sure." –On the difference with Ian Miller in the starting line-up.<p>
"I feel like hard work is definitely starting to pay off…I’ve always had to work pretty hard to get where I’m at…my mom instilled that in me at a young age."<p>
At-Large Bid Possible?
While it is definitely unlikely, mathematically the Noles are still in contention for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. But they are running out of time and chances.
RPI Forecast has the following projected RPI’s for potential records:
I’ve been saying for a couple weeks now that 20 wins would very nearly lock up a bid, and I still believe that. Even 20-12 (which would be win out and then lose in the opening round of the ACCT) would give us a top 50 RPI and also mean wins against Pitt and Syracuse. We would also have 4 top 40 RPI wins and only one "bad loss."
But I am also starting to believe that 19 wins—especially if one of those 19 wins is Syracuse—would not entirely rule it out. The odds would likely be less than 50%, but every year the committee seems to put in a few "really, them?" teams.
How do we get to 19 wins? Winning out in the regular season would do it, plus give us an above .500 ACC record. But that seems quite unlikely. But we could also upset either Pitt OR Syracuse, beat BC and GT, and then win a game in the ACCT. I know we haven’t played terrific basketball lately, but that is not THAT far fetched. BC and GT are ranked 131 and 134 respectively on Kenpom.com, and FSU has not lost to a team ranked lower than 85 all season, going 9-0 against teams ranked outside the top 100.<p>
It’s likely that FSU will need at least one win in the ACCT, so it’s worth looking ahead at the new format and who we might play. Here’s a link to the 15-team tourney that now spans five days.<p>
In short, the first day consists of three play-in games between the six lowest seeds. FSU really needs to avoid these games, as they are basically lose-lose. If we win, it’s against an opponent who doesn’t help our resume, and if we lose it’s a bad loss. Therefore, FSU needs to finish no less than 9th, as the 8 and 9 seed play each other on the second day.<p>
Currently, FSU sits in 9th, a half game behind NC State and a game ahead of Notre Dame. If FSU can manage to win three of their last four games (and if we can’t it’s not really worth talking about) the Noles would finish no worse than tied for 9th with Notre Dame, Wake/Miami—though each of those teams would have to finish undefeated to catch us and that is extremely unlikely. So if we win three, the table would be set for a likely first round matchup against one of NC State, Maryland, or Clemson.<p>
The second game would then be against the regular season champ, which I am starting to believe just might be Virginia. Yikes.<p>