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NIT TONIGHT: FSU AT WEST VIRGINIA

WHEN/WHERE: 7:30, WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, W.Va.

TV/RADIO: ESPN.

RECORDS: Florida State 18-11, West Virginia 21-9.

COACHES: Florida State _ Pat Kennedy (200-130, 11th season; 324-190 overall). West Virginia _ Gale Catlett (366-207, 19th season; 492-250 overall).

KEY PLAYERS: Florida State _ James Collins, G, 6-4 Sr. (15.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg); Randell Jackson, F, 6-11 So. (10.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg); Kerry Thompson, PG, 6-0 Jr. (8.4 ppg, 5.5 apg); Kirk Luchman, C, 6-11 Sr. (8.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg). West Virginia _ Seldon Jefferson, G, 6-3 Sr. (15.7 ppg, 4.6 apg); Adrian Pledger, G, 6-3 Jr. (14.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg); Damian Owens, F, 6-5 Jr. (13.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg); Gordon Malone, F, 6-11 Jr. (12.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.2 bpg).

NOTES: The winner advances to the final four at Madison Square Garden. FSU, in the tournament for the third time, never had advanced beyond the second round. The Seminoles already have beaten one Big East team in the tournament, Syracuse at the Carrier Dome last Wednesday. West Virginia split with the Orangemen during the regular season. The Mountaineers have beaten one Atlantic Coast Conference foe, North Carolina State at Raleigh, to reach this point. N.C. State and FSU split during the season. The most compelling matchup could be Thompson against Jefferson. The two are close friends from New York City and were members of the all-city team in 1994, joining Stephon Marbury, Kareem Reid and Felipe Lopez. Jefferson gave Thompson the nickname "Goat" because of the shape of his feet. Jackson, playing more aggressively than at any time this season, is averaging 16.3 points and 9.8 rebounds in the last pour games. FSU sophomore guard Geoff Brower, who severely sprained his right knee Monday against Michigan State, is out for the rest of the season. The Mountaineers have won seven of their past eight.

_ BRIAN LANDMAN

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