A very strange stretch

AP Photo/Chuck Burton
AP Photo/Chuck Burton

If the 2012-13 Florida State basketball team had a slogan, it would probably be, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

Win the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Lose to South Alabama. Win the Orange Bowl Classic. Lose to Mercer.

Start the ACC season with a 2-0 record. Play so erratically that we’re lucky to be at 5-5 just eight games later.

(Also read: Spending a weekend with Nemo)

It’s been a weird stretch for the Seminoles. A stretch in which the media has told the young roster they’re a disappointment. Apparently, a team composed of mostly freshmen and not named “Kentucky” was supposed to scorch the earth and beat everyone in sight. They were apparently supposed to do what an experienced Miami squad is doing right now.

Sorry, but most people in Tallahassee didn’t think that would happen.

However, we also didn’t expect to witness what we’ve seen over the last month: one of the weirdest stretches of basketball I’ve ever watched, at any level. FSU has alternated wins and losses over their last seven games, which isn’t strange in itself, but when you consider the way these games played out, it gets very kooky.

Date Opponent Outcome
Jan. 19 Virginia (road) Lost by 20
Jan. 24 Clemson (home) Michael Snaer game-winner
Jan. 27 No. 25 Miami (road) Lost by 24
Jan. 30 Maryland (home) Michael Snaer game-winner
Feb. 2 No. 5 Duke (home) Lost by 19
Feb. 5 Georgia Tech (road) Michael Snaer game-winner
Feb. 9 Wake Forest (road) Lost by 25

The Seminoles play Miami next, and the Hurricanes might be ranked No. 1 when they come to Tallahassee, so I’d be fine with this streak continuing for one more game!

A few things jump out at me when I look at this slate. First of all, when you factor in a loss to North Carolina before this stretch began, it’s plausible that the Seminoles could easily be on an 8-game losing streak right now if it weren’t for senior guard Michael Snaer’s mastery in the final seconds of a game. Of course, the old saying of “It doesn’t matter if it’s by an inch or a mile — winning’s winning,” comes into play here. However, it’s hard to ignore the way FSU was in position to lose each of their last eight games, even if they found a way to win three of them.

Another, more disconcerting, issue I see is with the losses. At least twice in the last month (against Miami and Wake Forest), the team just appeared to tune out when the opponent began to pull away. Hustle was less evident, especially when it came to rebounding, and there was no attempt to fight back. I understand the growing pains associated with trying to break in a bunch of freshmen on the fly, but as head coach Leonard Hamilton said after Saturday’s blowout loss to Wake Forest, youthful inexperience is no longer an excuse.

They’ve had all season to figure it out.

I don’t see the Seminoles playing in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Maybe they’ll figure it out next season, but they have to learn how to fight harder in these tough ACC battles, and I don’t know how Hamilton will teach heart.

Maybe they needed an 8-game losing streak more than these Snaer buzzer-beaters. They might have learned more about themselves.

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