Dick Vitale breaks down FSU basketball's season and future
Like many Florida State fans, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale was "shocked and surprised" at how the third-seeded Seminoles were blown out last week by 11th-seeded Xavier.
"They just dominated," Vitale said of Xavier's 25-point win last week. "Their zone defense really seemed to baffle Florida State. "That was a nightmare. That was a nightmare game."
Especially given how FSU started the season. The ‘Noles started off 16-1. They went 5-1 in one brutal ACC stretch (Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Louisville).
"They looked like one of the premier teams in the nation," Vitale said.
But after that 5-1 spurt, FSU tailed off.
"It seemed after that, there was like a satisfaction - a feeling of, ‘Wow, what we achieved is great,'" Vitale said. "They weren't, to me, the same team. They were up, down, up, down."
That, eventually, led a team that had Final Four potential losing in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. What does it mean for coach Leonard Hamilton and FSU's future?
Vitale - speaking to promote the Allstate Bracket Predictor - tried to put FSU basketball in context. Vitale remembers coming Tallahassee in January for the Louisville game. The basketball team was rolling, but Vitale remembers the local newspaper focused on what football recruits Jimbo Fisher was going to sign.
"That's not an easy job," Vitale said. "I can respect people saying, ‘What have they done? Where are they going?' You're in the ACC. You're in a school that absolutely eats, sleeps and breathes football...
"It's a job where football dominates, and you've got to fight for fan interest. They started to build that this year. Obviously I'm sure Leonard is as disappointed as anyone with the way they finished."