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History on FSU's side regarding NCAA tourney

In previous years, basketball coach Pat Kennedy might have had power ratings and national rankings spread across his office, dozens of teams categorized on a chalkboard, and all kinds of scenarios racing through his head as the NCAA Tournament approached.

"I usually get a little fanatical this time of year," Kennedy said. "I study the power ratings, do my own NCAA bracketing. I study everything. I'll probably be doing it when I'm 70 years old."

This year, all of that seems less important to Kennedy. The reason: the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Membership in the ACC sells itself when it comes to the NCAAs. Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, no team with a .500 record or better in the conference has gone without an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

And after Monday night's 87-79 victory at North Carolina State, the Seminoles (16-6, 8-4 ACC) have assured themselves of at least a .500 league record.

"Honestly, I haven't thought about it this year in this league," Kennedy said. "So many hours have gone into game preparation. I haven't touched it yet.

"Being at Iona and Florida State, we did a lot of politicking and lobbying. I would keep a very close eye on it. It's just the nature of where I've come from that I have developed that year in and year out."

Injury worries: Chuck Graham, Andre Reid and Rodney Dobard sustained sprained ankles during Saturday's victory over Clemson, exposing FSU's lack of depth. Luckily for FSU, forward Byron Wells, a junior from King High in Tampa, came through with a career-high 13 points. Wells had scored only two points in five minutes of playing time in ACC games before Saturday. And it looks as if the Seminoles will be forced to use him more.

"Byron Wells and (freshman guard) Ray Donald are guys on the edge of getting more playing time," Kennedy said. "Everybody tends to go with a very limited number of guys."

Kennedy has been playing only seven, but that changed Saturday. And with a road game at Virginia on Thursday before a home game this Saturday against Georgia Tech, he may continue to use more players.

Free-throw record: The Seminoles have been a poor team from the free-throw line, but Douglas Edwards on Saturday set a school record by going 14-of-14 from the line. The previous best, in terms of percentage, was by Tony Dawson in the 1987-88 season, when he was 10-of-10.

In addition, Edwards was 11-of-12 from the line in Monday night's victory over North Carolina State.

In the pool: The ACC Men's Swimming Championships begin Thursday in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Seminoles are ranked 22nd in the nation. The top ACC school is Virginia, which is 17th. FSU is 4-2 in the conference and 10-4 overall. The women's meet was over the weekend and FSU finished fifth. North Carolina took the title.

Elsewhere: The 13th-ranked softball team opened its season Sunday with a doubleheader sweep of Samford, 10-0 and 7-0. It plays a doubleheader against FAMU on Sunday. The men's tennis team is 2-1 after a loss to Florida International on Sunday. The women are 0-3 after a loss to Alabama on Sunday in the Wisconsin Ice Volley Invitational.

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