Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida State Seminoles get to measure themselves against perennial contender Gonzaga

BUFFALO, N.Y. — When Leonard Hamilton looks across the court at Gonzaga tonight in the opening round of the tournament, he will see the logical next step for his resurgent Florida State program:

Perennial NCAA team with the ability to play deep into the tournament, nationally ranked power with a national profile.

The ninth-seeded Seminoles (22-9) will try to take that step past the eighth-seeded Bulldogs (26-6) at the HSBC Arena in the West Region.

If FSU can make the leap, it would likely play No. 1 seed Syracuse in the Orange's back yard. Undaunted, Hamilton's glass is clearly half filled.

"Anytime you're competitive, you like to play a team that is nationally ranked, gotten a lot of recognition, and they've earned that status," he said of Gonzaga, making its 12th straight NCAA appearance.

"I told our players, I can't think of a better bracket to be in, to play what I guess you would call a perennial power. I think the stars are lined up for us. Now all we have to do is go out there and do the job."

During Hamilton's eight-year run, the Seminoles have made the leap from Atlantic Coast Conference doormat to contender, finishing fourth and third the past two regular seasons.

Last season, they earned a fifth seed in the tournament and played the role for much of their game against 12th-seeded Wisconsin. But FSU lost its focus long enough to let Wisconsin get to overtime, where the Seminoles fell.

"I think last year we had control of the game throughout," said sophomore Chris Singleton, the ACC's defensive player of the year. "It was just the last 10 minutes (that) we buckled under pressure.

"It was a big stage for us. We had never been there. This year we all know what to do. I think we're going to play all 40 minutes of the game."

Hamilton, who is 3-4 in four NCAA appearances, seconded the thought.

"If anything, we have a better understanding you have to play 40 minutes," he said. "If you have a lull at any point, anything is capable of happening."

Florida State Seminoles get to measure themselves against perennial contender Gonzaga 03/18/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 19, 2010 12:10am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494