FSU basketball: Thoughts on 5th place ACC preseason prediction

It feels like forever since FSU basketball played its final game earlier this year. A disappointing season filled with injuries and disappointing losses.

It wasn’t all bad after a lackluster start to the season, with a patchwork FSU team found itself atop the ACC Conference after a six-game winning streak in early January. The streak included wins over Louisville, Miami (2x), and No. 6 Duke in Coach K’s final trip to the Tucker Center.

However, the injuries and inexperience began to take their toll, and the Noles lost the next six games and eight of their final 12 before losing against Syracuse for the second time as the No. 8 seed in the ACC Tournament second round.

The Noles ultimately finished 17-14 (10-10 ACC) and didn’t play in any post-season tournaments. They got some great news when former five-star Matthew Cleveland announced he’d return for his sophomore season after winning the ACC Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Leonard Hamilton has the No. 14 ranked recruiting class enrolled, along with help from the transfer portal, although they already lost one of those guys for the season.

Caleb Mills and Jalen Warley return in the backcourt, along with Cam’Ron Fletcher and Naheem McLeod. FSU didn’t have any players selected for any of the All-ACC preseason teams but predicted to finish fifth in the conference.

Thoughts

At least the Noles will have some continuity compared to how they started the season last year. The lack of those thing is why I wasn’t too bullish on the team early last year.

They lost a lot of firepower from the 2020-21 team. They lacked consistent outside shooting, had defensive issues, rebounding issues, and consistent effort.

Although the 2022-23 team will have some experience playing together, they’ll still count on a young guys to fill out the rotation. I think the Noles at No. 5 could be generous and a nod to how great Leonard Hamilton has been over the last few years.

We’ll find out soon enough as the Noles began their season Nov. 7 against Stetson.