There aren't many sports analysts left in the world. An analyst, when previewing a team, leans on obscure things like data and film to help form his opinion. But researching those things takes time. And time is not valued. Clicks are valued. For every one of you readers who enjoys a thought provoking piece backed up by mined data which took four hours to research, there are a hundred readers who would much rather click on an tweet or a low-res picture of a WAG.
What that means when it comes to Florida State basketball previews is that there is no incentive to do a thorough job, and that we'll get a hundred articles saying the same things. Sure, there are a few real writers out there - John Gasaway, Ken Pomeroy, Luke Winn, etc... - but they don't talk about FSU very often. We get what we get. Most of which is schlock.
So how to recognize these articles? Well, they'll tell you three things.
Coach Hamilton is a defensive mastermind (True), and FSU basketball scares opponents with their defense (False). The last time FSU had a great defense, exactly none of the current players were on the roster. In the last three years the Noles have finished 190th (jeebies!), 57th, and 75th in defensive efficiency. Last year the Noles were 10th in conference-only games.
The upside is that FSU was playing with very little depth last year, and that will change this year as the Noles will go 12 deep. But combining a bunch of 1st year players with guys who haven't traditionally defended isn't exactly a recipe for a staunch defense.
Could it happen? Sure. Is there any evidence to suggest anything more than incremental improvement? Uh, no. Top-40 is reasonable. Elite is not.
The last three seasons have been a massive disappointment (False). As fans, sure, we want to go to the Dance every year. And if Coach Hamilton keeps landing recruits like he has in the past 12 months, then missing in 3-straight years would be massively disappointing. But when you're at a school with terrible fan support, below par facilities, and having to compete against the most talented teams in the nation, then you're going to miss a few.
The fact that missing at FSU means being on the bubble is such a huge upgrade over where we used to be. Missing used to mean losing at home to 8-16 Western Carolina on a night when students didn't even realize there was a game.
Florida State is one of the most talented teams in the country (False). The Noles have six players who were consensus 4* or 5* recruits. That's great, especially considering they only had three last year after Aaron Thomas got the boot. But 31 other teams have that many or more, and 7 are in our conference.
This team very well could compete for a 5 or 6-seed in the Dance, but if so, they'll have accomplished it through hard work, team play, and efficiently executing game plans. They're going to have to earn it.