The speed bumps were expected. With a roster featuring so many new pieces — freshmen, transfers and a junior-college transfer mixed in with the veterans — the Florida State basketball team was going to learn on the fly but also has the benefit of the full slate of non-conference games.
It just so happens FSU would play some challenging games, from the trip to Florida to a road game with Purdue as well as South Carolina, UCF and (potentially) Missouri. The Seminoles learned a few things about themselves after a 71-55 loss at Florida.
“I’ll admit that we’ve had to make some adjustments into who we are with having so many new, inexperienced players that play a really, really major role in who we are and what we’re about,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “So we might not have as much room for error with this particular team. And we need to execute a little bit better offensively and defensively, and I feel that we’re not quite there yet. Our energy has been good for the most part. Our execution and a lot of the things that allowed us to be successful over the years is still developing.”
Florida State fell short in a few notable areas. There were more turnovers (17) than assists (10). The Seminoles were outrebounded 44-33, they shot just 8 of 15 from the free-throw line and foul trouble with Wyatt Wilkes and Caleb Mills put FSU in a rough spot early.
“I thought they out Florida State’d Florida State,” Hamilton said. “And I said that not necessarily in a disrespectful way, I just thought that in sports and then in athletics or anything, something I learned a long time ago from working with a coach that sometimes teams have found a way to have a mental edge. And unfortunately for us, we allowed them to have the mental edge on us the other night. It was obvious, after watching the game film, that they were a little quicker to jump, they were a little quicker to contain, they were a little quicker to close out.”
There have been plenty of positives early in the season. Malik Osborne has done everything from score (18 points in each game) to rebound, defend and lead. FSU also held Florida to 28.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
The learning experience continues for FSU on Wednesday when the Seminoles play host to Tulane (8 p.m. on ACC Network).
“They play a fast pace, they will press you,” Hamilton said. “And they have a unique, different type of matchup zone defense that you got to be aware of and not let it slow you up.”
FSU has won 21 straight home games in November.
Hamilton said he was not sure if Tanor Ngom (concussion) would return for the Tulane game. Ngom participated in some non-contact portions of FSU’s practice on Monday, Hamilton said.