Friday, February 6, 2009

Win critical for FSU, Gastonia's Hamilton

Florida State couldn’t afford to lose Thursday night.

When you’re headed for the NCAA tournament “bubble,” you can’t let the ACC’s last-place team defeat you on your home floor.

Despite trailing by six at halftime and shooting just 30.9 percent from the field, Florida State and coach Leonard Hamilton’s team held off Georgia Tech 62-58.

On the surface, Florida State’s NCAA tournament resume looks extremely strong. Wins outside the ACC against Cincinnati, Florida and Western Kentucky bode well for Gastonia native Hamilton’s hopes of making his first NCAA appearance in his seventh season as Florida State’s coach.

Winning Thursday improves the Seminoles’ record to 17-5, 4-3 in the ACC. Before Thursday’s game, Florida State was 29th in the RPI according to

So why was one game against Georgia Tech so important? Florida State couldn’t afford to lose at home to the ACC’s last-place team because its schedule is about to get much stronger.

Thus far Florida State has built its winning ACC record entirely by defeating teams in the bottom half of the conference standings. But seven of its final nine games are against teams that have winning ACC records.

It won’t be easy for Florida State to achieve the .500 ACC record that might be necessary to sway the Division I men’s basketball committee to give the Seminoles their first NCAA bid since 1998.

If Florida State hadn’t held serve against Georgia Tech, it would have been even more difficult. – Ken Tysiac