The Florida State Seminoles already have impressed their new rivals in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season.
Now they're starting to make an impact nationally.
After three conference victories last week _ including two on the road _ the Seminoles on Monday received their highest ranking in three years, moving to 16th in the Associated Press poll.
The Seminoles, who moved up from 23rd, last were ranked this high at the end of the 1988-89 season. Earlier that year, they were as high as seventh.
"It is so important that you are playing well down the stretch, so the 16th ranking means a lot more in that we're moving up and not down at this time of year," FSU coach Pat Kennedy said. "We've still got three big games left, and we've got to keep it going.
"But it's wonderful for the players and an important source of pride for our university."
The Seminoles have three regular-season games left before the ACC Tournament. They play at Clemson tonight at 8 p.m.
On Sunday, FSU plays DePaul (18-6) in the first game of a doubleheader at the Suncoast Dome. Following that game, No.
5 Arizona will play Temple. Both games will be televised nationally by ABC.
4 North Carolina plays at FSU on Feb.
27. That will be the Seminoles' final regular-season game. They will then have two weeks to prepare for the ACC Tournament in Charlotte and position themselves for what is now an almost certain NCAA Tournament bid.
Duke remained No.
1 in the poll, but 16 losses by ranked teams last week caused some shuffling. UCLA moved up one spot, to No.
2. Duke plays at UCLA on March
1. Injured Duke guard Bobby Hurley is expected back for that game.
Following Duke and UCLA are Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona.
Three new teams _ Iowa State, St. John's and Georgetown _ are in the poll this week. They replace LSU, Texas-El Paso and North Carolina-Charlotte.