Apparently Florida State is the best medicine for struggling teams.
As was the case when North Carolina came to Tallahassee, coming into the game with the Seminoles the Virginia Cavaliers had lost two straight conference games after beating the Tar Heels. In a display that Leonard Hamilton called the worst during his tenure at FSU, the Cavaliers demolished the 'Noles 56-36.
With the disappointing loss last week to UNC and a week off to prepare for the Cavs, no one could have expected what transpired for FSU in Charlottesville. Certainly not the head coach.
"We took a step back today," said Hamilton following the game. "Today was very discouraging."
"That was about as worse a performance as I have seen in my ten years at Florida State."
We will dispense with the usual description of the game. It was ugly to say the least. Some of the more minute details and stats tells the story.
• The thirty six points for the game was a new record for fewest points scored at John Paul Jones Arena.
• FSU's leading scorer in the game was Michael Snaer with 9 points with just 2 in the second half.
• The Seminoles were 1-15 from behind the arc.
• Conversely UVa was 7-13 in three point shots. The really bad part about that statistic is that the Cavaliers were 7-9 in the first half meaning UVa was 0-4 in the second half.
That aspect was particularly disappointing to Hamilton who noted that was the game plan (stopping UVa's three point shooters) from the beginning.
FSU had 18 total turnover, 12 in the first half. In that first half, there were three separate occasions where FSU turned the ball over three consecutive possessions. Against a team that limits possessions, giving possessions away without even taking a shot is a sure way to lose a game.
And the turnovers were very inventive.
Just to name some examples, there was stealing the ball and then trying to play the role of a point guard when you are in reality a power forward, resulting in dribbling the ball off your leg and out of bounds.
The rocket speed pass that caromed off a teammate's shoulder and out of bounds.
The no look pass that was right on target ... to the Cavaliers.
Attempting a bounce bounce to God knows who because I'm not sure the player involved knew (as Hamilton noted, the freshmen point guards panicked forcing Ian Miller to be inserted at the point).
A senior leaving his feet with nowhere to go with the ball.
The cross court pass that is usually easy picking for the defense. And it was.
Driving the ball wildly and out of control into the lane against two defenders.
Attempting a baseline pass to a teammate on the other side, where not one but two defenders were ready and waiting for that.
And my personal favorite, attempting a bounce pass to a teammate that is 7'3".
Couple that with shooting that was colder than the forty degree weather outside (two air balls and numerous point blank shots that were missed) and the Seminoles did just that .... lose and lose badly.
You have to think confidence is a major issue for the team now. Defending the ACC title much less getting to the NCAA cannot be in the thought processes of this team at present. The old adage of taking it one game at a time has never been more appropriate as it is for this team right at this moment to regain whatever confidence they had in their abilities.
To accomplish that it will obviously take better execution and eliminate such mistakes as half the team on the floor executing one play while the other half is executing another.
Hamilton discussed some options in his post game interview. Among them were cutting down the rotation (expect the bigs of Kiel Turpin and Boris Bojanovsky to have even less playing time) and as Hamilton called "cut down on our system."
"We are not in sync offensively or defensively."
Hamilton did express some reservation in doing that in how it will affect his defensive system.
But to sum up Saturday's debacle, Hamilton said it best when he said "this was not our best effort."
Up next will be the Seminoles hosting a Clemson team out for revenge for a humiliating loss to FSU earlier this season. Tip off is set for 8 PM on Thursday.
On a side note Terrence Shannon fell in a heap to the floor with just minutes left in the game. Hamilton described it as a stinger in the neck.
Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton said after the game that Shannon was lucid and coherent during the ten minutes he lay on the floor after the incident, and that he was able to close his fingers and wiggle his toes when requested to do so.