Although they come from separate conferences and separate parts of the country and haven't met on a basketball court in almost 60 years, Florida State and Xavier both feel they have a good idea of what to expect from the other when they meet in the NCAA tournament Round of 32 on Saturday.
Over the 70-year history of FSU basketball, the Seminoles have never looked so disheveled, so out-of-sync, so thoroughly outcoached on any big hoops stage. Isaac was a force for the Seminoles since the postseason began, averaging 10.25 points and corralling 45 total rebounds in four total ACC and NCAA tournament games.
There's just no way to sugar-coat this deflating finish to an otherwise splendid season, which included a three-way tie for second in the rugged ACC. How could it not be? That's the nature of the game of basketball.
However it's much more than that, as Florida State failed to improve during a time in which many other teams continue to get better. "It's hard sometimes to overcome that".
No.11 seed Xavier (22-13) vs.
That includes a 5 of 10 mark from 3-point range, which either could be a potential outlier - Xavier doesn't often rely on the long ball - or a preview of things to come against the Seminoles, who at times this season have been susceptible to deep shooting. Which is unusual, since they faced one for part of the first half of their win Thursday against No. 14 seed Florida Gulf Coast.
"I feel like over the past couple games we are getting back to that mentality and style of the play that we had for much of the season", said Leticia Romero, who was one of four FSU players in double figures with 14 points.
"If we can do that, I think we can be successful tomorrow night". "They did their job and we just weren't on it".
"I'm so excited for the guys next to me and the guys in the locker room".
"We would love to be a real smooth, solid pinpoint execution team, but that's not how we're built", Hamilton said.
The Tigers, who endured a 4:01 first-quarter scoring drought and a 7:12 field-goal drought in the second quarter, shot 9 of 27 overall and 3 of 12 from three-point range in the half. But everything FSU did, or tried to do, after halftime was an utter failure.
Florida State made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years, but whether the Seminoles (26-9) can return next season will depend on the decisions of their three leading scorers.
"They have bigs on the inside, they run a lot of set plays and they have a guy that can score the ball at will", Smith said.
No doubt, part of that must be attributed to Mack's coaching and Hamilton's inability to find a counter-move.
That this team has reached this point should be extremely satisfying for the Musketeers, who looked cooked as they lost six in a row in February and March as they dealt with a season-ending knee injury for Sumner and an ankle injury that temporarily sidelined Bluiett.
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