After wins in their first five games, the Seminoles were starting to tempt their fans on having an improved offense with this year's team.
But then there was a shocking loss to Harvard in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas. It was a game in which the Seminoles set all sorts of futility records, including just 14 points at halftime, and it was a reminder of past problems.
The Seminoles look like the same grind-it-out, win-on-defense kind of team they've been in recent history under coach Leonard Hamilton. They followed the Harvard debacle with arguably their best game, losing 78-76 in overtime to UConn.
"We're not going to have any problems moving on," Hamilton said. "We have a fairly mature team. We totally understand our shortcomings. We realize where we are, and we know that if we're going to have an opportunity to be where we want to be at the end of the season we'll have to keep moving forward."
In moving forward, the Seminoles played their first-ever game in the state of Michigan on Nov. 30 when facing Michigan State in the ACC-Big 10 challenge game. This team will face the familiar challenges of developing a consistent scorer.
Hamilton may also realize that while the Bahamas is a great tourist destination, it's not much of a basketball destination. Even with the game just a short plane flight or cruise ship away from the Florida coast, the games attracted less than a 1,000 people in a converted ballroom setting. In fact, the attendance was so weak for the UConn game -- a game that would have drawn 8,000-plus at either campus -- that no attendance was listed.
NOTES AND QUOTES
G Michael Snaer averaged 16.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 41.2 percent from the 3-point line (7 of 12) in the three games FSU played in the Bahamas during the Thanksgiving weekend. ...
F Bernard James started his 30th consecutive game Nov. 30 against Michigan State. He recorded his third double-double of the season with an 11-point, 14-rebound performance against UConn in the Bahamas. ...
Florida State held each of its first seven opponents this season and each of its last 14 opponents since Feb. 26 last year under 50-percent shooting from the field.
KEEP AN EYE ON: G Jeff Peterson -- What a career path he has taken. After starting his career in 2007 with the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Springfield, Missouri, native transferred to Arkansas and then opted to play as a post-graduate student for the Seminoles in his final year of eligibility. He is one of the top two players off the bench right now, but he may be elevated into a starting point guard position. Peterson's experience in other major-college programs, along with his age, are big factors. He can create some shots when he's in the game.
STRENGTHS: The 'Noles can play suffocating defense. They have picked up where they finished last season as one of the nation's best defensive basketball teams. With their towering, deep front court, the Seminoles alter shots, block shots and force turnovers in the paint. This team has become proficient in grinding out games and breaking opponents in the second half. With players like James, Xavier Gibson and Jon Kreft in the middle, this team has also been a rebounding leader.
WEAKNESSES: Same old problem. As in previous years, this team lacks a quality point guard and a dependable shooting guard. Ultimately, the inability to have a go-to scorer, a guy that can bust a zone defense and break a scoring drought by creating his own shot, produces the kind of woeful shooting performance exhibited against Harvard in the Bahamas tournament. It causes teams to play matchup zones against the Seminoles and forces them into perimeter shots that no one can consistently convert.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We always bounce back. Last year we lost to Ohio State and Florida at about this same time. We bounced back and made the Sweet 16. I think we can do the same thing this year." -- Florida State G Deividas Dulkys on the state of the team.
Same strengths and weaknesses for FSU
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