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Jeff Eisenberg

Can Florida State make NCAA tourney without Chris Singleton?

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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It's a good thing Florida State has some margin for error between it and the bubble right now because the Seminoles may need it.

Forward Chris Singleton, Florida State's top defender and leading scorer and rebounder, suffered a fractured right foot in the first half of Saturday's 63-56 victory over Virginia. The 6-foot-9 junior will undergo surgery as soon as possible and could miss the remainder of the season.

The silver lining to Singleton's injury is that the Seminoles still have a good chance to make the NCAA tournament without him.

At 18-7 overall and 8-3 in ACC play, Florida State had separated itself from the middle of the league and put itself on track for an at-large berth prior to losing Singeton. While his absence deprives the already offensively challenged Seminoles of their lone double-digit scorer, the remaining schedule is fairly favorable.

Three of Florida State's five remaining ACC games are against lower-division Wake Forest, NC State and Miami, though the matchup with the Hurricanes is the lone home game of the three. The other two games are a home date with North Carolina and a road test at Maryland, both of which may be challenging.

It's too early to project exactly how many more wins Florida State needs to earn a NCAA tournament berth, but the Seminoles could feel comfortable with three more regular season victories and then a win in the ACC tournament quarterfinals. Anything less than that is dicey considering Florida State's RPI is only 50 and its lone quality non-league win came against struggling Baylor.

The timing of Singleton's injury is unfortunate because he was starting to play his best basketball. He'd emerged from a January slump to score a combined 31 points in Florida State's previous two games and he had 11 of the Seminoles' first 13 points against Virginia on Saturday.

Without Singleton, Florida State will lean on its enviable depth. Eleven Seminoles play at least 10 minutes a game, though there's no doubt Singleton is their most talented player.

The Seminoles have a good chance to get to the NCAA tournament without Singleton. They'll probably need him back, however, to have any hope of making a lengthy run.

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