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Cardiac Hill ACC Preview: #9 Florida State Seminoles

Florida State comes in at number nine on the Cardiac Hill ACC Basketball countdown

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

Coach - Leonard Hamilton (12 seasons at FSU, 241-157 record, 4 NCAA Tournament appearances)

Arena - Donald L. Tucker Center (12,041 capacity)

2013-14 Record -  22-14 (9-9) Lost to Minnesota 67-64 in NIT FInal Four

Game with Pitt - @ Pitt Wednesday January 14 9:00 // @ Florida State Saturday, March 7 TBD

Top Returning Players (Italics = projected starter)

-- Aaron Thomas 6'5" JR SG  14.5 PPG  4.2 RPG

-- Devon Bookert 6'2" JR PG  8.5 PPG  2.8 APG

-- Montay Brandon 6'8" JR PF  7.7 PPG 4.9 RPG

-- Boris Bojanovsky 7'3" JR C  5.9 PPG  4.9 RPG

-- Michael Ojo 7'1" JR C  2.5 PPG  3.0 RPG

-- Jarquez Smith 6'9" SO PF  2.4 PPG 1.5 RPG

-- Xavier Rathan-Mayes 6'4" FR SG  Ineligible in 2014

-- Kiel Turpin 7'0" SR C  Injured in 2014

Impact Newcomers

-- Robbier Berwick 6'4" FR PG 3-star on Rivals

-- Dayshawn Watkins 6'0" SO PG  JuCo Transfer

--Phil Cofer 6'8" FR PF  #120 Recruit on Rivals

The Scoop - Florida State has been a consistent program in the ACC in the past decade, but they always seem to be a program perpetually on the bubble. Leonard Hamilton has only guided the program to four NCAA tournament appearances in 12 years, but they have made the NIT six times in that same span, including last year.  Can the Seminoles take that NIT experience and push it to making the Big Dance in 2015?

Florida State brings back plenty of size and talent, but they still have some holes left by Ian Miller and Okaro White. The offensive attack should start with junior wing, Aaron Thomas.  He had a breakout sophomore season and led the team in scoring.  Florida State gains a heralded recruit this season that was ineligible all of last year. Xavier Rathan-Mayes could be in contention as one of the ACC's top newcomers as he will get plenty of opportunities with the ball in his hands playing both guard spots. Devon Bookert and Deyshawn Watkins are two point guards that should both see minutes.

The Seminoles' team strength could be size, and they have plenty of it. Leonard Hamilton can turn to three different seven footers, Boris Bojavansjy, Michael Ojo, and Kiel Turpin.  Neither player is a big time offensive threat, but all three players can provide good minutes. Since the Centers aren't overly productive, the power forward is an important spot. Montay Brandon will get the chance to fill in for Okaro White. He played well last year, but will need to up his numbers this season.

Final Outlook - Florida State has two dangerous guards in Thomas and Rathan-Mayes, and they can push the offense forward this season.  They have plenty of depth and size, but lack a big time threat inside. Florida State certainly has the talent to be higher on this list, but I'm leery of placing them up further. The ACC has gotten better in the past two years with the influx of the Big East teams, and it puts the 'Noles lower in the pecking order, they can still compete for an NCAA tournament berth, but it will likely come down to the last weekend as they will probably be on the bubble once again.

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