Florida State and the Perils of Mediocrity

Has there been an ACC team in the last few years that has been more average than Florida State? They've had a conference record within one game of .500 for the last three seasons. Sometimes they start strong - say, 2007's 12-2 start that included a win over eventual champion Florida - and they'll knock Duke off every year or two, but come the end of the year, there they are, in the middle. Playing at a tempo that's slightly slow for the ACC, but pretty close to average. Finishing with an efficiency marging that's always a hundredth or so plus or minus zero. Never excelling in anything, never failing horribly. Yawn.

This year's Seminole team shares UNC's 3-2 conference record, having beaten the teams they should (State, Maryland, and Virginia) and losing where it's expected (Duke, Miami). They turn the ball over a lot - worst in the ACC, 305th in the nation - and can't really compensate for it with their average defense. That being said, they can catch fire and play god teams close, such as the slowed down loss at Pittsburgh, or the strange game against Duke. That last game is the one that sticks most in my mind, with a tight, awfully played first half that ended with a 19-14 score, followed by a quick Duke rout that devolved into a horrible endgame, where the Blue Devils played in a blind panic and the Seminoles just didn't have the talent to claw back.

Florida State shares Clemson's disadvantage when playing the Heels. Senior point guard aside (Toney Douglas, who in addition to doling out the ball is their primary perimeter shooter), this is a team of big men, and UNC has better big men, frankly. Solomon Alabi, at 7-1 and second to Trevor Booker in blocked shots in the ACC is an obstacle, but the Heels just shut down Booker last week. The freshman looking to claim his title shouldn't be any more difficult. The Heels should coast, unless FSU continues it's trend of making things difficult as they go down to defeat.

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