TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State's 2013-14 men's basketball team already has its believers. Whether the Seminoles land North America's prized recruit or not, at least one sports outlet thinks they will be one of the country's best programs once again.
On its "way-too-early top 25 (and one)" preseason rankings released Tuesday morning, CBSSports.com placed the Seminoles at No. 26. The poll suggests that if all goes properly, FSU should make the 2012-13 season a distant, bitter memory beginning next November.
The rankings were unveiled after Louisville beat Michigan in Atlanta on Monday night in the national championship game.
The reason CBSSports.com thinks the Seminoles will be strong once again? Their roster. Nine players are listed as "notable" returning standouts, and another three recruits are outlined in the capsule's rankings. Those three recruits include none other than the well-hyped and well-regarded Andrew Wiggins. The top scorer on the East team in last week's McDonald's All-America Game, Wiggins is still deciding between going to FSU or Kentucky.
FSU is still very much in the running for the expected star.
Even without Wiggins, though, the Seminoles next season are expected to showcase a lineup that features veterans Okaro White and Terrance Shannon in the frontcourt, and Ian Miller in the backcourt. Sophomore guards Aaron Thomas and Devon Bookert would have a year of experience, as would transfer center Kiel Turpin and sophomore centers Boris Bojanovsky and Michael Ojo. Junior Terry Whisnant could be a scoring threat, as could currently signed soon-to-be freshmen Jarquez Smith and Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
Only Michael Snaer, he of the late game-winners and buzzer-beaters, will be lost going into next season.
The Seminoles finished this past season -- one year removed from having lost six seniors -- in the NIT. Their first-round loss to scrappy Louisiana Tech closed out an 18-16 campaign. After four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, the finish was FSU's worst in five years.
Other ACC schools that made the list include: Louisville (No. 3; entering the ACC in the 2014-15 season), Duke (No. 7), North Carolina (No. 8), Syracuse (No. 11; entering the ACC next fall), Notre Dame (No. 19); entering the ACC next fall) and Virginia (No. 22). Florida also was on the list at No. 6.