Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

FSU Drops Crucial Contest To North Carolina

A win over a storied program like North Carolina is always nice. This one was necessary. Florida State’s men’s basketball team lost an important game against the Tarheels in the Tucker Center in Tallahassee on Monday.

FSU got off to a fantastic 9-0 and 21-6 start, playing much looser than they have been, particularly on offense. The opportunity to upset arguably the hottest team in college basketball was as golden as the Seminoles’ uniforms. But FSU’s offense stagnated, and Carolina played its way back into the contest, trailing just 36-33 at the half. The ‘Heels kept coming in the second stanza, finding their shooting touch against the ‘Nole zone and taking their first lead  at the 10-minute mark. They led by as many as eight, but the Seminoles trimmed the margin to a single point. Their inability to hit the big shot cost them, however, and UNC held on for the 81-75 win.

This loss really hurts FSU, which is looking to return to the NCAA tournament after winning the ACC in 2012. Pundits are giving up on the ‘Noles: after keeping FSU in his tourney projections for nearly the entire season, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi dropped the Seminoles out of the tourney in his updated field today. And that was prior to this loss. They’re not even in his “First Four Out” group, instead relegated to third in the “Next Four Out” list (essentially having to jump seven teams to make the big dance). CBS Sports writer Jerry Palm also excludes the ‘Noles from his projections, updated today.

With this loss, FSU drops from eighth to ninth in the conference standings . The Seminoles have four games remaining, and have to win three of them to remain in the discussion, barring some type of impressive run in the ACC tournament. They next play at fifth-place Pittsburgh on Sunday.

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