Florida State was measured and found wanting on Tuesday night against Minnesota.
The Seminoles, fresh off four straight wins and a Coaches vs. Cancer tourney championship, came back to Earth tonight against a very talented Golden Gopher team 77-68.
No. 21 Minnesota was just better than Florida State tonight in every phase of the game tonight, they shot better, defended better and rebounded better than the Seminoles and it showed as the Gophers lead wire-to-wire and looked the part of the better team.
"I like this team, I think we have the potential to be a good basketball team," said Hamilton. "I just hope we can keep winning while we develop. But we got beat by a better basketball team, I expected them to be a little further along than us at this point.
"But you also want to die with your boots on and I didn't feel our effort was where it needed to be early."
Much like the Seminoles teams of old, FSU hung just 25 first-half points. While FSU actually out-played Minnesota 43-39 in the second half, the hole they dug early was too big to get out of.
That being said, this is actually a good learning experience for this Florida State basketball team. You never want to drop a game, but early in the season against a ranked opponent this was an excellent measuring stick to gauge where FSU is and where they need to improve before ACC play starts in January.
Now the Seminoles have until Mercer comes into town on Sunday to make adjustments, live in the film room and go hard at practice. This is the sort of loss that helps a team improve itself.
"We'll go back to the drawing board," said Hamilton. "Thank goodness we have another game on Sunday and another game on Wednesday. That's one thing good about basketball, you can't wallow in self-pity too long because you've got another team coming right around the corner.
"We always seem to bounce back when we falter, it's just disappointing that we just didn't give them the same kind of effort that they gave us. That's part of the challenge you'll face sometimes though with a team that's trying to find itself. We just need a few more games under our belts but we also need to not lose games while we develop."
Terrance Shannon lead the way for Florida State with 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, Michael Snaer added 12 points and both Okaro White and Terry Whisnant had 10, but Florida State's offense was out of rhythm for most of the night and it wasn't until late that the baskets really started falling.
"Everybody's mad, upset at the game, but it can still have a positive effect, we can definitely learn from this," said Terry Whisnant. "It brings us closer, we'll stick together and so on. Now we'll have meetings and practice, work hard and just fix the things we need to fix."
Notebook: Tubby Smith was very complimentary of Terrance Shannon in particular... Smith also said FSU, like all Leonard Hamilton teams should mature into a very talented ball-club by the end of the season... Florida State went with a smaller rotation for this game than they have previously, Leonard Hamilton has said his team needs to get guys experience while still being competitive, tonight FSU played 10 guys but Michael Ojo and Robert Gilchrist both didn't get minutes... Many of the mistakes Leonard Hamilton alluded to were technical issues that can be addressed quickly in practice... Hamilton said he doesn't see a lack of leadership, rather his team is going through a growing up process and learning the frame of mind they need to be in to play at an ACC level... Boris Bojanovsky showed plenty of growth under the hoop for Florida State tonight, he blocked three shots and had three rebounds while responding well to Minnesota's physical play at the basket... FSU trailed by as many as 21, but were able to cut it to single digits in the final minutes. Unfortunately the rally came up short as Minnesota was able to hit enough shots to run the clock out down the stretch... Terry Whisnant is quickly becoming a bigger part of the Seminole rotation, he started, had 10 points and played 19 minutes on Tuesday night...