December big for FSU Basketball

Haylee Blitch/NoleGameday

The Florida State Seminoles men’s basketball team has started out as good, or even better than many expected despite a close loss to defending national champion Villanova. The Seminoles already have three top-50 wins according to Kenpom in Florida (No. 22), LSU (No. 48), and Purdue (No. 12) which should boost their resume in March.

However, they’ve got to capitalize during a December that could lull this team to sleep. FSU won’t play a team that’s ranked currently higher than No. 87 and will match up with three teams that rank No. 189 or worse. This is exactly the kind of stretch that can be a nightmare for some teams.

Thankfully, the ‘Noles are expecting their leading scorer from a year ago, Phil Cofer, to return at some point during this stretch. The redshirt senior has been spotted in a boot in the early part of the season after he reinjured his right ankle in the preseason. It seems he’s shed the hardware and may be close to returning. Cofer wasn’t wearing a boot in FSU’s win over Purdue on Wednesday night.

Florida State will open a five-game December with a game against Troy on Monday, Dec. 3. Then they’ll travel to New Jersey five days later to play against a UConn team that has looked improved under the leadership of Dan Hurley.

Following that, the Seminoles will take a nine-day hiatus before navigating a stretch that sees them play three games in six days, with two of those games being played in the Tucker Center. They’ll match up with Southeast Missouri State and North Florida before taking on Saint Louis in the Orange Bowl Classic on Dec. 22.

While they play three very winnable games in Troy, Southeast Missouri State, and UNF, the ‘Noles will be tested by UConn and Saint Louis.

The Huskies currently have four players averaging double figures in scoring after finding their footing under coach Hurley. They’re 6-1 to this point after falling to Iowa earlier in the season. Connecticut does have a win over No. 15 Syracuse. The Huskies do have just three seniors in their lineup, which should give FSU an advantage in experience.

As for Saint Louis, the Billikens are currently 5-1 after falling to Pittsburgh earlier this season. They have defeated midmajor Seton Hall while also beating Troy, who FSU will play next, by four on Nov. 10.

The ‘Noles will wrap up their non-conference slate against Winthrop on Tuesday, Jan. 1. Then, the real season begins. ACC play. If Florida State handles its business as it should, this team could realistically be 12-1 entering conference play.

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