Back on the Bubble

For fans who have followed Florida State basketball long enough, life on the bubble in March is nothing new. Despite a valiant effort, the Noles fell short of upsetting #18 Clemson on the road Wednesday night. A Phil Cofer three-pointer pulled FSU within one possession of Clemson late before the Tigers would outscore FSU by 10 points in the final 2:11 of the game. The loss puts the Seminoles at 19-10 on the season and 8-9 in conference play.

Cofer led the way for the Noles with 21 points while Brian Angola began working his way out of his recent slump adding 11 points while making three of four shots from deep. No other Seminole scored in double-digits and leading scorer Terrance Mann contributed just three points on a 1-9 shooting night. Once again, the Seminoles did themselves no favors from the charity stripe converting on 12 of 19 attempts compared to Clemson’s 20-26 effort.

The loss puts FSU squarely on the bubble with just one game left in the regular season. The Seminoles will host Boston College Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee, a game that has become all but a must win to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. The Eagles defeated Florida State in mid-January 81-75 in Chestnut Hill, a game in which FSU never led. The Tucker Center has been kind to the Noles where they boast a 12-2 record on the season with the only two losses being to #1 Virginia and in their game against Louisville where FSU blew an 18 point lead. A win would put FSU at .500 in conference play and give them 20 wins on the season going a long way in securing a bid in the big dance.

Florida State’s final chance to make a statement to the selection committee will come next week when the ACC Tournament tips off in Brooklyn. If the tournament were to start today, the Noles would be the 10 seed and their first round matchup would be against a Pittsburgh team who went winless in ACC play this year. To earn a first-round bye, FSU would need to win this weekend and have #1 Virginia defeat Notre Dame in Charlottesville Saturday evening.

The ACC Tournament officially tips off Tuesday, March 6 at noon and will conclude Saturday night in the conference championship game. The NCAA Tournament selection show will air Sunday, March 11 at 6:00 pm EST. How Florida State looks over the next week will dictate how comfortable the team is as they await to hear their name called for the second straight season. As of March 1, Joe Lunardi of ESPN has Florida State as a 9 seed in the West region facing Butler in the first round.

Richard Barnes

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