The bubble is atrocious this year, which means that I have become quite accustomed to writing about how a particular result was the worst possible outcome.
Cue Florida State and North Carolina.
The Seminoles, in a perfect world, would not be in any danger of missing the NCAA Tournament. But with their star Chris Singleton sitting on the sidelines, Florida State is playing by the Patty Mills rules. If you remember, back in 2009 the St. Mary’s guard was injured late in the season. The Gaels struggled without their star, losing three games (they lost six all season) before getting waxed by Gonzaga in his return in the WCC tournament final.
Granted, St. Mary’s was in a much different bubble position than Florida State pre-injury, but those Gaels missed the tournament despite being ranked when Mills went down.
Florida State lost to North Carolina tonight 72-70, but it was a good loss, if there is such a thing. The Seminoles, going against the nation’s second most efficient defense, managed 70 points (on a respectable 1.08 PPP). They got some interior scoring. They got some drives to the rim. They hit 5-12 threes. They didn’t look like the offensively inept team that scored 44 points in a loss to Clemson.
And while the eye test is too subjective to have any value when selecting the NCAA Tournament field, the fact that Florida State didn’t fold against one of the hottest teams in the country — they rallied from a 67-60 deficit late to take a 70-69 lead before losing on a Harrison Barnes three with 3.1 seconds left — is a sign that this team has survived the loss of their most well-known player.
This result also could not have been any better for North Carolina. Winning on the road is not an easy thing to do, and the Tar Heels went into Tallahassee and knocked off a tough Seminole squad playing one of their best games of the season. Singleton or no Singleton, at the very least that is a quality win for the confidence.
Barnes may not be a first team all-american this season, but ever since he hit the game-winner against Miami, he’s played like one. Over the last 10 games, Barnes is averaging 17.9 ppg, and that includes his 18 points and game-winning three tonight:
Most importantly, however, this was the best outcome for the fans.
It means that on Saturday, when Duke invades Chapel Hill, the ACC title will be on the line.