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Seminoles Geared to Defend ACC Title

And they have the experience and size to do it.

 The 2011-12 Seminoles shocked the ACC last season by overcoming perennial powerhouses North Carolina and Duke with exciting wins in the regular season and tournament. Last year’s coach of the year, Leonard Hamilton, leads a No. 24 ranked Florida State squad and brings back four starters this year, the most important being their best overall defender and athlete, 6-foot-5 Michael Snaer.

Snaer has been picked for the preseason All-ACC team and hopes to continue the magic of last year that saw him drain a buzzer beater on the road against No. 4 Duke and this game winning dagger versus Virgina Tech.

Another cornerstone of this impressive defense returns in junior Oraka White, a 6-foot-8 forward who’s quick and athletic enough to guard smaller forwards and guards but also physical enough to play with the big boys.

The offense lost key ball handlers in Loucks and Dulkys, but luckily, 6-foot-3 guard Ian Miller returns. It is uncertain if Miller will play point guard or shooting guard, but either way, his pure shooter’s touch will earn him significant minutes for the ‘Noles and plenty of chances for big shots.

The Noles have always been a big and physical team under Hamilton and this will continue this year with plenty of options. Although losing Bernard James to the draft was a big blow, Florida State still has junior big man Terrance Shannon.

Shannon was a starter for the 'Noles and averaged over 10 points a game last year before a shoulder injury ended his season. When healthy, Shannon can be a stud in this conference.

Newcomers like transfer Robert Gilchrist and a former junior college center, Kiel Turpin, provide a big presence on defense and on the boards. Turpin is just one of the three 7-footers on the squad, the other two being freshmen Boris Bojanovski and Michael Ojo.

The ACC looks tough this year with Duke and North Carolina returning as powerhouses. Surprisingly, however, the NC State Wolfpack is much improved and the critics agree, by ranking them No. 6 and picking them to win the conference this year.

The ‘Noles are going to have their struggles finding points at times this year, but their defense will always be keeping them in games.

Prediction: 25-5 (14-4)