USA Today/Phil Sears

Florida State's Struggles In The Paint Are Nothing New

Florida State has a lot of talent, but one glaring weakness is costing them big.

Florida State was in the game with a chance to win in the second half against No. 6 North Carolina, but the Tar Heels pulled away late thanks to an incredible performance by Brice Johnson. Johnson finished the game with 39 points and 23 rebounds, and became just the second player in North Carolina history with 35 or more points and 20 or more rebounds.

While Johnson was playing very well last night, it also speaks to how bad the Florida State front court was. Florida State's three bigs, Boris Bojanovsky, Chris Koumadje, and Jarquez Smith, combined for just 5 points and 7 rebounds. All 5 points came from free throws. They allowed North Carolina to outrebound the Seminoles 50 to 33, and allowed 50 points in the paint. A lot of those points came off the 17 offensive rebounds that North Carolina was able to grab. 

Despite having the size advantage down low, Florida State was pushed around. That was particularly true when Smith and Bojanovsky were on the court.

"...They exploited the fact that we didn't match them in their physicality and athleticism with the interior part of their team," Hamilton said.

This hasn't been an issue for just this game though. The Seminoles have been outrebounded by 35 over the last three games now, and this has been a staple of the program over the last three years. The real problem is that there doesn't seem to be an answer at this point. Florida State is currently without two big men, Phil Cofer and Michael Ojo, for what is likely the season. That leaves Smith, Koumadje, and Bojanovsky rotating in. Koumadje struggling makes the most sense of the three. He's a freshman that was not able to practice at all leading up to the season opener, and has seen limited times in games. Bojanovsky and Smith, on the other hand, are veterans that just haven't gotten any better during their time at Florida State.

Head coach Leonard Hamilton will keep trotting Bojanovsky out in the starting lineup because he doesn't have much of a choice. That's still on him for recruiting 7-foot project players rather than 6-foot-8, 6-foot-9 guys that are going to box out and be physical. It's not a player problem at this point. It's a philosphy problem, and it doesn't look like it will be fixed this season. 

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