Two straight trips to the NIT have certainly dampened some of the momentum Florida State had built by rattling off four straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2009-12. However, expectations surrounding Leonard Hamilton’s club remain high, and for good reason.
ACC expansion solidified the league and added to the depth of both the football and basketball lineups.
The basketball benches, though, is where ACC fans may notice the biggest upgrade. Both of the country’s 900-win coaches now work in the same conference, thanks to the addition of Syracuse and Jim Boeheim. In Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon and Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, the ACC also adds two of the nation’s most consistent coaches who have the reputation of doing more with less.
A season can be changed by an injury. In the same way, 10 teams are hoping a key player returning from injury will change their fortunes for 2012-13.
Among those players returning from injury include a forward with All-American potential at Minnesota, a key veteran at rebuilding North Carolina, and explosive guard at USC and former starters at three SEC schools.