FSU and G Ian Miller prepare for a challenge against No. 22 UMass. (December 20, 2013)
The Seminoles (7-3) are coming off what is arguably their most impressive win of the young season, defeating visiting Charlotte (7-3) 106-62 on Tuesday. Whether the type of dominant performance carries over into Saturday’s game versus No. 22 UMass (10-0) is another matter. The contest is at 2 p.m. and will be played in Sunrise.
“I’m not too sure we can take the extra points,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said jokingly.
But what FSU can take, however, is a little momentum.
The Seminoles had dropped three out of four games during a rough stretch in late November and early December. But with two consecutive wins by a total of 68 points, FSU is showing that it has the potential to get back into the NCAA tournament after missing out last year.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction, but I don’t think we’ve reached our potential yet,” FSU guard Ian Miller said.
The Seminoles are still tinkering with their rotation, but found success against Charlotte with Okaro White at small forward and Robert Gilchrist at power forward. Big men Boris Bojanovsky and Michael Ojo are starting to play at a high level, and the experiment with Miller and Aaron Thomas coming off the bench has been a success.
FSU has proven it can match up with quality opponents this season, exhibited by convincing wins against Charlotte and VCU. But FSU’s next step is to show consistency. Back-to-back wins against Charlotte and UMass would certainly serve as a confidence boost for this relatively inexperienced team.
It would also be huge for RPI and strength-of-schedule rankings. UMass is No. 2 in the very early RPI.
“We’ve got to have that to get where we want to be,” Miller said.
FSU, after facing UMass, will be off for more than a week Charleston Southern on Dec. 30. The Seminoles then start conference play against Virginia on Jan. 4.