Based on your pre-season predictions did FSU exceed, underachieve or do about what you expected during the regular season?
BFT: "Going into this season I really had no expectations. I didn't even make a predictions list with the exception of about any team other than Duke who I felt was the best team in the ACC, as well as Virginia, Miami and North Caroline State who I expected to be the dregs of the conference. For the most part I was pretty much correct on that. The remaining eight teams in the league had a whole bunch of questions. I didn't expect the Tar Heels to have that big of a drop off so that was one I did not anticipate. After that I thought it would be chaos in determining the 3rd through 9th positions. And that is exactly what we got with how tightly packed the middle was all season long.
Florida State constantly moved up and down the standings the entire season. It came down to the final game of the regular season to determine four seeds for the ACC tournament. That's pretty amazing when you think about it. And fortunately for Florida State it turned out in our favor, getting the third seed when Wake Forest beat Clemson Sunday night. As you know it easily could have been a 5th place finish.
What grade would you give Leonard Hamilton for the job he did during the season?
BFT: "I would give him a B, maybe a B minus. And here's why. Once again the defense is a killer defense. It is what won us a lot of games especially down the stretch where we allowed, 47, 50, 67, 47, 60 points in the five wins the Seminoles had. And even in the one loss in those last six games Clemson only scored 53 points. But that offense...
"Remember Leonard Hamilton predicted that he might have five or six players average double figures this season and the team score in the 80's with regularity. Well, if he was talking about the lower tier out of conference teams FSU played he would be right. The one and only time the 'Noles scored in the 80's it was against North Carolina State. If you follow FSU even remotely you know the name Scott Wood very well. For whatever reasons the staff cannot get this group of what is a talented group of players to score points. The offense far too often looks stuck in the mud and there are recurring issues I feel that even though they are addressed in practice, those same issues continued all season long. Improvement was minimal in certain areas or if it did it was very late in the season. It's up to the players to execute, but I have to look at the staff for not finding a way in 30 games to solve various fundamental deficiencies or adjust the system to get the offense to flow better."
You're probably not a betting man, but if you were -- how will FSU do in the ACC and NCAA tournaments?
BFT: "Nope, I don't bet at all. It may sound like a cop out but I'm going to refer to my answer to the first question. The league is still crazy in how tight it is. So anything could happen.
I would expect Duke to get to the final but the Blue Devils might not win it for the second year in a row if they meet up with Maryland. Which brings me to Florida State's bracket. FSU is 3-4 versus the other five teams in that bracket. It's a tough bracket for FSU. I expect us to meet up with Clemson again in the quarterfinals. As you know Clemson swept us with the most recent loss being a gut wrenching one. But I will point to 2006 in the tournament in Tampa. Clemson swept the Seminoles that year and we met up in round one. Thanks to Al Thornton's free throw FSU beat Clemson in that game. Three times to beat one team is tough. So assuming we move on and probably meet Maryland, I would say it would be tough (but not impossible) for the 'Noles to get to their second straight ACC tournament title game. Greivis Vasquez, who is probably the ACC player of the year, is just a tough matchup for any team, even one that has the caliber of defense FSU has.
"As for the NCAA, it is hard to predict at the moment simply because the brackets aren't out yet. I would say the Seminoles are a 7 or 8 seed team with an outside chance at a 6 seed. The 7 or 8 seed is no bargain as far more often than not the 9th seed wins the game, and there is always a 7/10 upset or two every year in the tournament. If history is any lesson, Leonard took the Miami Hurricanes to three straight NCAA tournaments, improving their run in the tournament each successive year. The team got a taste of that last year and should have a better idea what it takes to move on. I can see this team getting its first NCAA tournament win since 1998 when Steve Robinson's team beat TCU in the first round."