TALLAHASSEE — Heading into the 2012-13 college basketball season, Florida State had high hopes.
Coming off the first Atlantic Coast Conference title in school history and armed with a senior guard garnering preseason All-American hype, the Seminoles had their sights set on a fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
It didn’t happen.
Instead, the Seminoles battled injuries and their own inexperience on their way to an 18-15 overall record and a 9-9 ACC record.
By the end of their regular season, the Seminoles’ lone hope for a postseason bid was to win their conference tournament, something they failed to do despite a valiant losing effort on Friday evening in the second round against North Carolina.
Instead the Seminoles find themselves in the National Invitation Tournament as a No. 4 seed, squaring off with Louisiana Tech (26-6) at home in Tallahassee during the first round of the consolation tournament.
It was a trying season for FSU senior guard Michael Snaer. Coming into the year, the 6-5 former McDonald’s All-American guard from California was getting considerable hype. After leading his team to a conference title and the third round of NCAA Tournament last year, many expected Snaer to break out and have a huge senior season.
Instead, Snaer was bogged down by the Seminoles’ youth. With seven newcomers on a team that had to replace four seniors and two grad students, Florida State’s leader found himself thrust into a new roll as more of a facilitator, asked to take the reigns of a team with players experiencing the college game for the first time.
The results were tough to stomach. Florida State at its best could play with any team on its schedule. At their worst the Seminoles lost to the likes of Southern Alabama, Mercer and Auburn.
Even Snaer’s late-game magic wasn’t enough to lift the Seminoles this season. Despite Snaer hitting a number of game-winning shots — something he has done his entire career — the Seminoles still couldn’t string together enough wins to make a serious run at the tournament.
When the seeds for the NCAA Tournament were announced Sunday evening, nobody in Tallahassee was surprised to see the Seminoles left out. That bubble burst months ago.
Now the Seminoles will look to finish 2013 strong and head into next year on a good note in the NIT on Tuesday night.
FIU misses out
Despite an impressive improvement in coach Richard Pitino’s first season with the Panthers, FIU did not receive a berth in the NIT.
Florida International finished 18-14 this season after going 8-21 in 2011-12.
The Panthers, who are moving to Conference USA next season, finished with an 11-9 record in the Sun Belt Conference. FIU lost to Western Kentucky 65-63 in the Sun Belt Conference tournament championship game on March 11.