Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

Florida State Seminoles basketball becomes a hot ticket with chance to knock off Duke again

When student tickets for a football matchup featuring No. 1 Oklahoma against No. 5 Florida State became available online last fall, Seminole students snapped them up in 17 minutes.

That contest was the second hottest sporting ticket of the year.

According to the FSU sports information office, tickets to tonight's basketball matchup between No. 5 Duke and the No. 15 Seminoles sold out in 15 minutes. With a win in the first matchup of top-15 teams at the Donald L. Tucker Center since Feb. 27, 1993, FSU would sweep the Blue Devils for the first time and maintain prime positioning to claim a share of its first ACC regular-season title.

"They've beaten good teams before, that's nothing new," ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said of the Seminoles. "The difference is this year they're consistently playing at a championship level. They don't need to beat Duke or UNC just to make the tournament, they're competing for the conference championship."

Regardless of the outcome in the game at 7 tonight with the Blue Devils (23-4, 10-2 ACC), FSU (19-7, 10-2) can already claim a school first, having beaten the four North Carolina ACC schools — Duke, UNC, N.C. State and Wake Forest — in the same season. This comes on the heels of last season's first appearance in the Sweet 16 since that 1992-93 season, and this year's senior class will be the first to dance in the NCAA Tournament all four years.

Not bad for a football school.

"The thinking used to be, 10-15 years ago, that a coach would say, 'I don't want to go to a football school because if you go to a football school, you're always going to play second fiddle,' " CBS Sports analyst and Sports Illustrated reporter Seth Davis said. "There's far more advantages than disadvantages to being at a football school. You have a lot of resources. A lot of money comes through Tallahassee because of that football program, even when it's not really winning at a high level."

In addition, coach Leonard Hamilton, in his 10th year, has had time to build ("Do you think the football coach would survive six seasons without making it to a bowl game?" Davis said). Four- and five-star recruits and junior college transfers power FSU, and McDonald's All-American Michael Snaer made 3-pointers to beat Duke and Virginia Tech.

Now, with the Seminoles, Blue Devils and Tar Heels sitting atop the conference, FSU has the advantage of location. The pressure that exists in the ACC's heartland is absent in Tallahassee.

"We're not caught up in the media frenzy of all that goes on in the region," Hamilton said Monday. "We're not really caught up in the day-to-day excitement that goes on in that area. So, all the things that might cause them to feel pressure, we're not exposed to. We're just really chugging along, trying to win games."

Beating out Duke and UNC for recruits in the future will be nearly impossible, Davis said, and beating Florida is difficult as well. But defeating those schools on the court does bring national recognition. And there are virtues in a fan base that has other interests.

"For Florida State basketball, if you win, they will come out, they will support you, they will love you," Davis said. "If you lose, they will look at football recruiting and get excited for the spring game."

Comments
Lightning nearing end of road-heavy stretch

Lightning nearing end of road-heavy stretch

OTTAWA – The last time the Lightning played in Ottawa, back in early January, it was one of the team's worst games of the season.Coach Jon Cooper delivered a damning opening statement in his post-game press conference – saying "entitlemen...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

You can bet there were many Lightning fans that hoped Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson jumped on Tampa Bay's bus post-game Thursday night.Karlsson, 27, Ottawa's two-time Norris Trophy winner, is the biggest prize leading up to Monday's tra...
Updated: 1 hour ago

How the Rays’ DFA of Dickerson paid off, with a reliever and a prospect from Pirates

PORT CHARLOTTE – The Rays' surprising and controversial decision to designate for assignment 2017 All-Star OF/DH Corey Dickerson to prompt a trade paid off Thursday in a deal with the Pirates.Assuming you consider it a good return to get vetera...
Updated: 1 hour ago
USA women’s hockey gives us a night to remember

USA women’s hockey gives us a night to remember

Our team.They're Americans, yes. But they are more than that.They're one of us. Adopted Floridians. Honorary members of Tampa Bay.And they gave us the signature moment of the Winter Olympics.USA! USA! USA!In the greatest moment in American hockey sin...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs sign ex-New Hampshire RB Dalton Crossan

Bucs sign ex-New Hampshire RB Dalton Crossan

February signings in the NFL usually face long odds to stick on rosters in the fall, but the Bucs added to their running back depth on Thursday, signing former New Hampshire star Dalton Crossan.Crossan, who turns 24 on Sunday, went to training camp l...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Brent Honeywell injury could be worst Rays news yet

Brent Honeywell injury could be worst Rays news yet

PORT CHARLOTTE – It may have seemed that things couldn't get worse for the Rays after an opening week of spring training that included the dumping of two veterans to harshly negative reviews including from their own players, the trade of the te...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Police: DeSean Jackson’s former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

Police: DeSean Jackson’s former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

TAMPA  — With no witnesses and no video evidence, Tampa Police have stopped investigating a case from Christmas Eve that had a truck belonging to Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson found wrecked and abandoned in a mall parking lot with hollow-po...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays find taker for Corey Dickerson, get Daniel Hudson, prospect from Pirates

Rays find taker for Corey Dickerson, get Daniel Hudson, prospect from Pirates

The Rays found a taker for OF/DH Corey Dickerson, trading him Thursday to the Pirates for veteran reliever Daniel Hudson, minor-league INF Tristan Gray and $1-million cash.Hudson, 30, will compete for a spot in the Rays bullpen, coming off a rou...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Gators’ Larry Scott on Miami, ‘that other school down south’

Gators’ Larry Scott on Miami, ‘that other school down south’

GAINESVILLE — Tight ends coach Larry Scott hasn't even been with the Gators for a month, but he already understands the state's rivalries well.The former Miami interim coach referred to his old program as "that other school down south" during h...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Riverview to host Angela Slater softball tournament this weekend

Riverview to host Angela Slater softball tournament this weekend

Riverview High will host the inaugural Angela Slater Kick-Off Softball Classic, a 16-team tournament that starts Thursday and ends Saturday.The tournament is named in honor of the former Sharks softball coach who died in 2016 after a year-long battle...
Updated: 6 hours ago