Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

NCAA Tournament: Florida State men's basketball enjoys 'a special moment'

ATLANTA — When he saw his school's name pop up on the television screen, officially signaling a spot in the NCAA Tournament, Florida State's Toney Douglas tried his best not to let anyone packing the hotel restaurant see his reaction.

"I shed a tear or two," the senior guard said. "I didn't want anybody to see me, but I did. It's special. It's a special moment."

Not just for him but for the program.

The Seminoles (25-9) received the No. 5 seed in the East Region and open against No. 12 Wisconsin (19-12) on Friday in Boise, Idaho.

FSU hadn't earned a berth since 1998, one of the longest droughts for any team playing in one of the nation's six major conferences.

Oh, they'd been on the "bubble" several times in recent years, but Selection Sunday ended in dejection and relegation … to the NIT.

"The only year we really should have been in was three years ago when we won nine (league) games," said coach Leonard Hamilton, who watched the show from just outside the restaurant, eschewing the throng of FSU band members and dance team members as well as his players, his assistants and his support staff. "I was disappointed we were in that position, but that's behind us now, and I kind of want to keep it that way."

"We used to sit here hoping and praying our name would go up," senior forward Uche Echefu said. "It does feel real good. Everybody's happy, and now we have to take this opportunity and make the best of it."

It won't be easy.

Coach Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers are like the Seminoles in that they put a premium on keeping the game a halfcourt affair and defending. They have held opponents to an average of 59.0 points a game. It isn't always pretty for Wisconsin, but it is effective. This is the Badgers' eighth straight bid under Ryan and 11th straight overall that includes a Final Four trip in 2000 and an Elite Eight trip in 2005.

"They execute and get exactly what they want, and they've been successful year in and year out with that system," Hamilton said.

Historical note: Wisconsin is 2-0 against FSU, most recently beating the 'Noles 81-66 on Nov. 28, 2006.

Although the No. 5-No.12 opening-round matchup is renowned for upsets (there were two last year, Western Kentucky over Drake and Villanova over Clemson, both at the St. Pete Times Forum), CBS analyst Seth Davis said during the selection show that "Florida State is the dangerous team" in the Seminoles' part of the bracket.

"It's significant because we have a lot of young players, first-year players, who are going through this experience," Hamilton said of bid, "and I'm sure it's something they're going to remember and enjoy, and they're going be motivated to work as hard as they can and not ever be out of this situation again."

Fast facts

FSU vs. Wisconsin

When/where: 10 p.m. Friday (approximate); Boise, Idaho

Tickets: The FSU ticket office will accept requests starting at 8:30 a.m. today for the first game. Booster members and men's basketball season-ticket holders can call toll-free 1-888-378-6653 or visit the ticket office. Requests must be in by 5 p.m. If FSU wins, those with tickets for the first game have the option for Sunday's second game.

NCAA Tournament: Florida State men's basketball enjoys 'a special moment' 03/15/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 15, 2009 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

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

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard


    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.