VCU may be America’s lovable underdogs, but their opponent Friday night in San Antonio, the Florida State Seminoles, are probably the college basketball team no one wants to play right now. The Florida State defense, led by Peter Boulware, Derrick Brooks, Deion Sanders and Terrell Buckey (whoops, force of habit, sorry wrong FSU defense) is the best in the nation.
They held Texas A&M to 50 points and 31% shooting in their first tournament game. Then they dominated a high-scoring, hot shooting Notre Dame Fighting Irish team; holding them to 31% shooting, 23% from three.
The scary part? They did it all with jsut minimal minutes from their best player and defender, the ACC defensive player of the year Chris Singleton.
By Paul M. Banks
“They’re in the same boat as us,” sophomore guard Michael Snaer said of VCU and Richmond, the fellow double digit seeds in their regional.
“They’re riding of momentum, and I feel no team has played a defense like ours all year. All the teams we play against we’re going to frustrate them. You can’t help it, as we keep it playing that solid defense that got us to number one in the nation and keeping us at number one two years running- note that (laughter), as long as we do that- we’ll be alright,” Snaer continued.
The .377 FG% FSU yielded this season was tops in the nation (the best mark in a decade), and if they finish number one this year, they’ll become the first NCAA team to do it two years in a row since Georgetown in 1991-2.
The Seminoles are one of three ACC teams to reach the sweet sixteen, more than any other conference.
“We find it very disrespectful, the ACC has been so good for so long and then they disrespect us while we make strides every single year. They keep bashing us, they have zero percent chance of winning, and we know it’s not personal, but we take it to heart and use it as fire,” Snaer said about everyone who claimed the Big East is a better conference than the ACC.
Florida State (obviously known as a football school first and foremost) lost to John Wooden’s UCLA team in the 1972 national title game. But this past weekend saw the Noles get their first tourney win since 1998.
“Our defense is in perfect sync. People say our offense isn’t great, but we can score 60. All we gotta do is score 60, because we’re going to do our best to keep every team below 60. Because if we’re not gonna score, they’re not gonna score- I’ll put it like that,” Snaer, a former McDonald’s All-American proclaimed.
Snaer is coming to his own this season, but there’s a ceiling to be reached. He’s a five-star recruit and the #22 overall player (7th rated shooting guard) in his class. FSU Coach Leonard Hamilton is also a man with rising stock. His tourney record is now 2-2, helping the Noles all-time tourney record to 14-11. His name has surfaced among those as potential candidates for NBA jobs.
He’s truly found a way to make FSU more than the sum of their parts.
“It’s brotherhood, the camarederie of our team you can’t measure that. People aren’t realizing in basketball it’s not all about talent and what teams have, it’s about brotherhood,” Snaer said about team chemistry.
He does a weekly radio segment on Chicagoland Sports Radio.com and you can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank