Entering the Puerto Rico Tip-Off there were some who wondered just how good the Florida State Seminoles were. With a 3-0 record and the best victory coming at UCF, No. 10 VCU represented a significant challenge for Leonard Hamilton’s team. Or so we thought.
Despite turning the ball over 25 times Florida State controlled play for much of the night, shooting 53.7% from the field while limiting the Rams to 29.3% shooting on their way to an emphatic 85-67 victory that was even more lopsided than the final margin would indicate. Guards Ian Miller (22 points, six rebounds and four assists) and Devon Bookert (18 and four rebounds) led the way offensively for Florida State, with four players scoring in double figures.
For Florida State turnovers have been an issue in each of their four games, but the miscues didn’t cost the Seminoles thanks in large part to their effort on the defensive end. VCU shot 5-for-23 from beyond the arc on the night, as Florida State’s half-court defense resulted in a number of challenged looks from the perimeter.
With athletic players such as Montay Brandon (14 points, 11 rebounds against VCU), Okaro White (14 and nine) and Robert Gilchrist in the front court and Bookert and Miller on the perimeter, Florida State matched up well with VCU. But it’s hard to say that anyone expected Florida State to be as dominant as they were, leading by as many as 30 in the second half. FSU also controlled the boards, rebounding 75% of VCU’s missed shots with the Rams attempting 20 more field goals than the Seminoles.
Next up for Florida State is a matchup with Michigan in the semifinals on Friday, and a team some thought could fight its way onto the NCAA tournament bubble can pick up a second quality win of the weekend. In order to do that Florida State will have to take better care of the basketball, as a turnover percentage of 29.1% (FSU turned the ball over on 24.3% of their possessions entering Thursday) won’t get the job done against the Wolverines.
How good is Florida State? While there’s still plenty of basketball to be played both outside of and within the ACC, Thursday’s performance showed that the Seminoles have the talent needed to surprise some people.