TSX Hoops: Florida State

Seminoles scramble to replace Singleton. A win became a devastating loss for the Seminole. If there was one player Florida State could not afford to lose, it was junior forward Chris Singleton, the signature face of the team the past two seasons.

Unfortunately for the Seminoles, they'll have to play the rest of the season without him after Singleton broke his foot during the first half of their 63-56 victory against Virginia on Feb. 12.
  The situation cast a pall around the team and added doubt about whether Florida State could pick up the two or three more league wins they likely need if they are to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team.
  Singleton, the ACC's reigning defensive player of the year, had suffered a fracture in his right foot. It happened just when Singleton was getting into a more consistent rhythm within the team's offense.
  "You could tell that he was starting to feel it," coach Leonard Hamilton said, "and our players were starting to feed off of him."
  With Singleton out, Florida State is forced to replace its leading scorer and defender.
  "I think the guards are going to have to adjust a little more because he's usually our guy that takes their best player, or if they have a big guard, he takes them," junior forward Bernard James said. "So somebody else is going to have to step up and fill that spot.
  The good news for the Seminoles? They get a week to adjust.
  Their next game is Feb. 19 at woeful Wake Forest. But as bad as the Deacons have played this season, they'll likely be pumped for a chance to dent Florida State's postseason hopes. The game will be the least challenging of Florida State's three remaining road trips. The other two are to Maryland and N.C. State. The Seminoles have two remaining home games (Miami and North Carolina), neither of which will be small hurdles.
  Basically, Florida State needs to get at least 10 ACC wins to feel good about its NCAA tourney hopes. The Seminoles have a big win against Duke, but they have a loss to Auburn out of the conference. They also have blowout road losses in the ACC, so a winning record in the league is no sure thing, given the perception about the ACC being in a down cycle.
  The Seminoles have to avoid adding their own depression.

NOTES, QUOTES
  --Florida State has won five straight games against Virginia.
  --Junior C Jon Kreft gave the coaches hope he can accelerate his role when he scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds against Virginia. With Chris Singleton and Terrance Shannon out, the Seminoles are suddenly smaller in their lineup rotation. Kreft, a junior college transfer, did not become eligible to play until the school's fall semester ended in mid-December.
  --Virginia was held to 31 percent shooting (19 of 60) on Feb. 12 after Florida State held its previous opponent, Georgia Tech, to 29 percent shooting.
  --After a brief slip, Florida State returned to being the national leader in field-goal percentage defense (.361 through Feb. 13). In the ACC, the Seminoles were second in rebounding margin (plus-5.8) and blocked shots (6.0 per game).
  --The Seminoles' win at Georgia Tech on Feb. 10 gave them 11 ACC road victories in the past three seasons -- the third-highest total of any ACC team in conference play since the start of the 2008-09 season.
  BY THE NUMBERS: 97 -- Combined blocked shots this season for Bernard James (57 through Feb. 13) and Chris Singleton (40), who probably won't get a chance to block any more shots. The duo had blocked more shots than four ACC teams, and they had helped Florida State move to No. 2 in the league for team blocks.
  QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a setback, but it shouldn't cripple us. We still are a team that understands that we have some tremendous opportunities available and someone else is going to have to step up." -- Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton, on the effect of losing star forward Chris Singleton.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
  GAME PREVIEW:
  --at Wake Forest, Feb. 19
  KEY MATCHUPS: The Seminoles get a much-needed week of preparation to adjust their lineup and offensive sets for the rest of the season in wake of Chris Singleton's injury. They also get the worst team in the league. The Deacons were pounded by Florida State 85-61 on Feb. 1 in Tallahassee. In that game, Singleton scored just five points in one of his worst performances this season, but five other Florida State players scored in double figures. That is exactly the kind of balance and support the Seminoles will need in the rematch. The big challenge is that Singleton often guarded the opponent's best scorer. In this case, it will be Wake Forest freshman forward Travis McKie, the Deacons' leading scorer with a 12.6 average through Feb. 13. He poses the biggest matchup issue.
  FUTURES MARKET: Sophomore G Michael Snaer now becomes one of the biggest players in Florida State's lineup. He had a 16 points and a career high eight rebounds in the win against Virginia and realizes he must step up into a consistent scorer. The Seminoles often relied too much on Singleton, so it's players like Snaer and equally inconsistent Deividas Dulkys, who have to produce each game.

PLAYER NOTES
  --Junior F Chris Singleton (fractured foot) spent the second half of the Feb. 12 game watching with a boot on his foot, and he gingerly left the arena after the game. He was expected to undergo surgery in Tallahassee. While Florida State isn't declaring him lost for the season, it's seems impossible that a recovery from this type of injury would be any less than six to eight weeks, if not longer. The real issue for Singleton is that he was projected as a potential NBA Draft pick, so the school will be trying to get him fully recovered so he could work out for NBA scouts prior to the draft.
  "They are going to operate as soon as possible," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "He could be out whenever to whenever. Every individual heals different. It will cause us to readjust again. We had to readjust without Ian Miller and Xavier Gibson (both missed over a month with injures but have returned) and with Terrance Shannon." Shannon had missed the last four games through Feb. 13 after knee surgery.


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