ESPN’s thorough March Madness coverage continues with a breakdown and ranking of 68 teams in this year’s field.
16. Florida State Seminoles Despite all visual evidence to the contrary, Leonard Hamilton is 68 years old. (No, seriously!) This is his 30th college season. This might be his best team ever. It's undoubtedly the best he has had in a decade and a half at Florida State -- most of the time, anyway. Dwayne Bacon, Terance Mann,Xavier Rathan-Mayes and impossibly long wunderkind Jonathan Isaac form one of the most talented, athletic cores in the sport. When they're flying up and down the floor, seizing mismatches and attacking the rim, as they were for most of the 2016-17 season, they're one of the best teams in the country. But when they're bad, they're really bad.
55. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles Since the great Dunk City incursion of 2013 -- a tournament run so memorable Google's first result for "Dunk City" is Florida Gulf Coast men's basketball -- former Bill Self assistant Joe Dooley, making FGCU's second straight tournament appearance, has turned a fun one-off story into a legitimate mid-major program.
Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports released his bracket on Tuesday which includes an Elite Eight run for FSU.
SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell put together a list of the 50 best players competing in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
43. Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State
It’s easy to see why NBA scouts love the FSU freshman. At 6’10, Isaac has the skill set of a wing. He shoots the ball from deep and slides his feet with ease defensively. He has a shot at being a top-five pick in June.
34. Dwayne Bacon, SG, Florida State
This is the best Florida State team since Sam Cassell and Bobby Sura were running Tallahassee in the early ’90s, and that’s because of Leonard Hamilton’s ability to recruit and groom players like Bacon. In his sophomore season, Bacon has become the hyper-athletic go-to wing scorer Hamilton envisioned when he secured his commitment.
Tons of intel from Gary Parrish of CBS Sports on his list of 68 things to know about this year’s NCAA Tournament.
CBS’ Kyle Boone addresses how the odds have changed for teams to win the NCAA Tournament since the end of last season. FSU, for example, opened at 200:1 and has moved all the way down to 30:1 after a great regular season.
Florida State’s potential second-round matchup between either 11-seed Xavier or 6-seed Maryland could very well be against the Musketeers as the Terps have officially been put on upset watch by SB Nation’s Alex Kirshner.
2. No. 11 Xavier over No. 6 Maryland, West
The Terps limped to the finish, losing six of their last 10 games and exiting the Big Ten tournament early. The Musketeers went on a brutal six-game losing streak that ran through February, but they’ve settled down and played two quality games in a row: a narrow win over Butler, a narrow loss to Creighton.
Maryland won’t win any tournament games unless Melo Trimble is superhuman. That could well happen; he’s a great player. But pick the Musketeers for now, and you’ll have a good shot to get rewarded.
Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples has Florida State as his No. 1 ACC team entering spring practice.
1 FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
2016 RECORD: 10–3
We’ll know how the Seminoles’ national title aspirations stack up when they face Alabama in the season opener in Atlanta. But before they worry too much about a national title, they need to worry about reclaiming the ACC in a year when the league feels deeper than ever.
Jason Kirk of SB Nation picked Florida State to win the 2017 NCAA Tournament if it was played by the team’s football programs.
16 Dalvin Cook - RB, Florida State
Cook has average size and bulk for the position but he is dripping with instincts, explosiveness, and versatility. As a runner, he's patient, letting his blocking develop before exploding through the line of scrimmage. His feet are always active and he can avoid defenders in tight quarters because of his quickness. He doesn't have push-the-pile power at the line of scrimmage but once he builds up speed, he can run through tackles at the second and third levels of the defense. He is outstanding in the passing game, running clean routes and plucking the ball naturally. He will excel in the screen game at the next level. In pass protection, he is an effective cut blocker. Overall, Cook is perfect for the way the NFL game is played today. He is an explosive play waiting to happen.
Meanwhile, Dan Kadar of SB Nation has Cook going No. 19 overall in his latest mock draft to a team that will surely make a large portion of the Florida State fanbase very happy.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Buccaneers went into this offseason wanting to get a playmaking wide receiver, and they certainly got that by bringing in DeSean Jackson. They can add another playmaker on offense by drafting Cook, a do-everything runner who can command snaps early in his career.
Devonta Freeman, whose representation has been pushing hard for an extension this offseason, shared the noble reason behind where a portion of his money is going.
After previous No. 1 TCU dropped a weekend series to UC Irvine, Florida State is the new top team in this week’s D1 Baseball poll.