2018 Florida State Seminoles Basketball Predictions with Odds and Expert Picks
The last of these previews I wrote was Syracuse, so it feels appropriate to say that Florida State is coming off a very Syracuse type of year. Their only loss in nonconference play came by a single point against Oklahoma State, and they crushed then-No. 5 Florida, so expectations were high heading into ACC play. And then the wheels fell off. They lost to Duke to open, beat North Carolina, and then lost three of their last four. Fittingly for our purposes here, the one win in that stretch came against Syracuse. By the time conference play ended they were 9-9 in the ACC and 20-10 overall, and they didn't help their cause at all by losing to Louisville in the first round of the conference tournament. Selection Sunday was a nervous day for them. They wound up a No. 9 seed, but in true Syracuse fashion they went on a tear. They beat Missouri to open, knocked off top seed Xavier in the second game, then overwhelmed Gonzaga before losing to Michigan in the Elite Eight. I'll remember the run for one thing above all - I picked against them confidently in every game. Oops. But now expectations are higher. People expect this team to start the same, finish the same, and not fade in the middle.
Florida State Seminoles Additions/Losses
The biggest addition the team got was a player they already had. Senior Phil Cofer led the team in scoring last year while being a very aggressive defender. He missed much of his sophomore season with an injury, and at the end of May the NCAA granted him a waiver for a fifth year. The Seminoles wouldn't be ranked so high without that. They news isn't all good, though - Cofer hurt his foot in practice and could be out for much of the nonconference season.
They did suffer some losses, though. Braian Angola-Rodas, the third-leading scorer with the awkwardly-spelled first name, graduated. And guard C.J. Walker, a sophomore who was fourth in scoring, transferred to Ohio State. Walker started 34 games at the point before falling out of flavor later in the season, so he will be missed. Freshman Ike Obiagu transferred as well, but he had yet to find his game. These losses are easier to handle because of Cofer's return and because it's not like this team tries to blow people out anyway - Cofer averaged only 12.8 points per game and was one of only three in double digits.
The team added one transfer to provide veteran help. Grad transfer David Nichols ran the point very well for Albany and will be a very valuable backup point guard. And the lone recruit in the 2018 class is shooting guard Devin Vassell, a lower four-star player with size and upside.
Florida State Seminoles Outlook
Losing Walker is a blow, but junior Trent Forrest had taken over by the tournament last year, and Nichols is very solid. They should be fine. It's not the point that matters most here, anyway. The combination of Cofer, when he returns, and senior wing Terance Mann are the fuel that drives this train. They work together very well. The most exciting player in the starting lineup is sophomore M.J. Walker. He has clear NBA potential, and with the departure of Angola-Rodas he is going to play a lot more and carry much more responsibility. He has a chance to be a real breakout star. At center they start Christ Koumadje, but he and Mfiondu Kabengele split time. The latter has much more upside, but the former is 7-foot-4, so getting him on the court when you can is obviously a good idea.
The rest of the likely rotation includes two redshirt freshman - guard Anthony Polite and forward RaiQuan Gray - and senior guard P.J. Savoy. Savoy is almost comically allergic to crossing the three-point line - 85 percent of his shots last year were from beyond the arc. He'd need a road map to find the key.
Florida State Seminoles Schedule
The team jumps right into it, playing rival Florida right out of the gate. The Gators aren't the team they were last year, so this is a manageable game. Their conference tournament is the AdvoCare Invitational, where they could potentially wind up playing both LSU and Villanova. They play Purdue in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and play UConn later on, though neither team is near their best his year. All in all, it is a pretty manageable conference schedule.
The ACC schedule will always be tough, but they managed to draw only one game against both Duke and North Carolina, so it could certainly be worse.
Florida State Seminoles Futures Odds
Ranked 17th in the AP poll, the Seminoles sit at +8000 to win the national title at Bovada , which pits them behind 22 other teams, so oddsmakers like the team a little less than voters at this point.
Florida State Seminoles Predictions
The window for this team is this year. Cofer, Mann, Koumadje and Savoy graduate this year, Nichols will end his one-year visit, and with a good year Walker could be headed to the pros. They are set for a rebuild after this year. Sometimes teams use that last stand as a motivator, draw on their experience, and do big things. Other times, though, it becomes too much, and setbacks become crippling. At their best this is a team that won't be very fun to play against. But they aren't going to score a ton, and I don't really trust them. My gut agrees with the oddsmakers - this is an over-ranked team.
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