The Daily Nole

Hot Take Tuesday: FSU Women’s Hoops is an NCAA Tournament Sleeper

FSU athletics

Head coach Sue Semrau and Florida State aren’t exactly surging into the ACC Tournament in Greensboro by any means.

The Seminoles capped the regular season on Sunday with a 70-67 home loss to a Notre Dame team that entered with a 12-17 record. Thanks to a Louisville victory over Virginia Tech, FSU was able to secure a double-bye and the No. 4 seed, but it hasn’t been playing great basketball of late.

After a perfect non-conference slate, FSU may have actually underachieved against the ACC. In an ACC that has just three ranked teams, including FSU, the Seminoles finished just 9-7 over their final 16 games after a 13-0 start.

Despite the recent struggles, don’t sleep on FSU when the NCAA Tournament comes around. Although the conference slate wasn’t something that the Seminoles smoothly maneuvered through, they are still a very dangerous team.

During the non-conference, FSU defeated a number of teams currently projected by ESPN to make the NCAA Tournament, including Michigan, LSU and most notably, current No. 15 Texas A&M by way of an 80-58 beatdown. All three of those wins were away from Tallahassee.

For FSU’s struggles down the stretch, one thing that cannot be blamed is talent. Guard Nicki Ekhomu and forward Kiah Gillespie were each first-team All-ACC selections. Only Louisville had more selections.

Guard Nausia Woolfolk is also a key piece as she averages 14 points per contest. Valencia Myers, Morgan Jones, Sammie Puisis and River Baldwin are all capable of hitting double-figures on any given night as well.

In addition to the slate of solid non-conference wins, it should also be noted that FSU was the only team to win at ACC regular season champion Louisville. Three of FSU’s seven losses were decided by three points or less.

Currently projected as a No. 6 seed, FSU would likely need to make some major noise in the ACC Tournament to get the first two games of the NCAA Tournament in Tallahassee. With that said, the Seminoles have proven that they can win away from home.

FSU was 10-4 in road and neutral-site games this past season. In two of the five trips to the Sweet 16 under Semrau, the Seminoles did not play a single NCAA Tournament game on their home floor.

FSU’s veteran presence should also not be discounted. FSU’s top three scorers are all seniors.

At their best, the Seminoles proved early in the season that they are a force to be reckoned with. The challenge now in front of them is circling the wagons and putting it all together for the NCAA Tournament.

FSU can head into the dance with some nice momentum should it play well in the ACC Tournament. The Seminoles will face either Virginia Tech, North Carolina or Wake Forest on Thursday.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at Mike@TheDailyNole.com.

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