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ACC Basketball Preview: Florida State

Quick Facts

2005-06
Record: 20-10, 9-7 in the ACC
ACC Regular Season Finish: 5th
ACC Tournament Result: Lost in 1st Round
NCAA Tournament Result: None. NIT Lost in the 2nd Round

Players and Coaches
Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton, 4th year at Florida State, 65-68. 18th year overall, 265-268
Key Returnees: F Al Thorton(16.1 ppg), G Toney Douglas(16.9 ppg at Auburn in 2004-05) G Jason Rich(10.0 ppg), G Isaiah Swann(8.4 ppg)

Preseason Rankings
Poll Rankings: None
ACC Preseason Poll: 5th

Outlook

Florida State is another ACC team depending heavily on two experienced guard and a quality post player to make waves. The offense will go through Al Thornton who is an All-ACC pick in the preseason(getting one more vote than Josh McRoberts no less). The Seminoles also will have the services of sophomore guard Toney Douglas who transferred from Auburn and sat out a year per NCAA rules. As a freshman for the Tigers, Douglas averaged 16.9 ppg and gives the Seminoles a legitimate perimeter threat. Coach Leonard Hamilton also returns Isaiah Swan, Jason Rich, and Ralph Mims which will make up a loaded and deep backcourt. In fact FSU is a guard ladened team with only five forwards on the roster. Two of those forwards, Ryan Reid and Casaan Breeden will see minutes on the post. Uche Echefu was a Scout.com top 100 player out of high school and saw limit action in his freshman year. All in all look for Thornton to do the lion's share of the work in the paint while relying on the guards to really stretch the defense. FSU was 3rd in the ACC in 3-point FG percentage a year ago. Good perimeter shooting by the FSU guards will keep opposing defenses out of a zone and open up the lane for Thornton to work.

THF Prediction

FSU brings back an experienced post player, a transfer who was a deadly shooter in his freshman year at Auburn, and some solid guards. Opposing defense will have their share of problems trying to decide which way they want to guard FSU. And while FSU has some proven and talented players on the court, they, like everyone else, will be looking to some inexperienced players for production on the offensive end. So in one respect FSU is loaded with enough talented players and has far fewer questions than the teams picked below them. Hamilton is a good coach and also has a very respectable class on the way for next season. FSU really needs to make an NCAA Tournament appearance. One issue they had last season is the schedule was too weak and they could not get past some of the mid-major at large bids because they played no one of consequence and only beat Duke a week before tanking versus 12th seeded Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament. This season the schedule looks better with games versus Pittsburgh(neutral court in PA), at Wisconsin, home to Florida, and home to Providence. According to the AP Poll FSU will play the #1, #4, and #9 teams in the country. Of course they will not be there when the games are actually played but you get the idea. FSU needs to win one of these games and make sure they beat everyone else on their out of conference schedule. They also need to go 10-6 in the ACC because 9-7 could be dicey though I think UVa will slip in at 9-7.

Prediction: 22-8 overall, 10-6 in the ACC, NCAA Tournament