FSU Hoops on a Roll
And yet, the Seminoles (15-5, 5-1) entered the week with extra days of practice available and in a tie for first place in the ACC. You have to go all the way back to FSU's second season in the ACC to find the last time the Seminoles have been in this position heading into the last full week of January.
"We are kind of moving into uncharted waters for our basketball program," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "But in order for this to be meaningful we have to continue to be focused ... We got to keep on stacking victories on victories. I don't want the players playing the 'What if?' game."
The Seminoles have zoomed forward since the big win against Duke on Jan. 12. They have played well at home in wins against N.C. State and Boston College and overcame 19-percent shooting in the first half to beat Miami on the road.
The schedule affords a break. The Seminoles don't have a midweek game. They will play at Clemson on Saturday with a chance to produce their second-best ACC win streak (five games) in school history. More importantly, with the ACC in a down year, the Seminoles look to be in prime position for upper division finish.
"It definitely feels good to put ourselves in that (position)," said guard Derwin Kitchen. "I didn't know that, that it was the best start since '93. It feels good but we've still got a lot of work to do."
The Seminoles will use the week to continue working on their perimeter shooting. They are going to see zone defenses and matchup zones the rest of the way.
"I don't know that we're in the driver's seat, because it's still early," Hamilton said. "But it puts us in the position, with the two teams that we're competing with now, in terms of Duke and Boston College, at least we're keeping pace with them. It's early, and we've been on runs in the past."
--The Seminoles finally got a Saturday night home game in the ACC and it resulted in the second-largest crowd (11,604) of the season. FSU has been pushing to get more Saturday night league games when the crowds can be registered. Whether it's football or basketball, FSU fans and students support night contests a lot better than any time in the afternoon.
--Florida State's national-best defense came up big again. Boston College was held to a season-low 51 points on Jan. 22. The Eagles' best scorer, Reggie Jackson, one of the best in the ACC, was held to just 4-of-13 shooting for 13 points. He was averaging 19 points.
--The Seminoles have won four straight since sophomore forward Terrance Shannon was inserted into starting lineup, through the Jan. 22 win over Boston College. He scored double figures in two previous game games, but failed to score and played just 11 minutes against Boston College.
BY THE NUMBERS: 18 -- Years since Florida State won four consecutive ACC games. The Seminoles did it twice in the 1992-93 season when they set a school record with six consecutive ACC wins. They also won four in a row twice in the previous season, their first in the ACC. Since then, it's never happened.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It means a lot, but at the same time you can't get complacent. It's early in the year and we've still got 10 games left. Even though we're 5-1 and tied for first, we can't get satisfied." -- Florida State G Derwin Kitchen on the significance of the Seminoles' fast start in the ACC.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--at Clemson, Jan. 29
KEY MATCHUPS: This is a rematch of the Seminoles 75-69 victory on Dec. 12 in Tallahassee. The difference was FSU's solid shooting in the second half, making 16 of 31 field goals for 51 percent shooting. It was one of the best games of the season for FSU guard Deividas Dulkys, who scored a team-high 17 points. Just like in that game, this one should come down to how well the Seminoles defend the perimeter. Clemson goes with a three-guard lineup, let by top scorer Demontez Stitt, who had 18 points in the first game. The intangible factor is how FSU plays with a full week of rest. That doesn't always translate into great performances, especially on the road. Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum is one of the toughest venues in the ACC and the Seminoles have struggled to win here.
FUTURES MARKET: Considering the competition, freshman forward Okaro White had his best game against Boston College. The 6-8 rookie from Clearwater, Fla. scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, with five rebounds in 22 minutes of play. White is part of an emerging front court for the Seminoles with fellow newcomers Bernard James and Jon Kreft, both junior college transfers.
--Senior G Kitchen continued his hot streak, reaching double figures for the third time in FSU's four-game winning streak in the Jan. 22 win over Boston College. He averaged 14 points per game and led the team in scoring twice during the run.
--FSU guard Ian Miller, who has been out with a groin injury, dressed for the first time in 10 games but did not play Jan. 22 vs. Boston College.
--Junior F Chris Singleton has struggled since scoring 18 points in the win against Duke. In the next last three games through Jan. 22, he scored only 23 points, including a season-low four points against Boston College. It was only the fifth time this season he has been held to single figures.
--Freshman G Ian Miller, sidelined with a groin injury, dressed for the first time in 10 games but did not play against BC.
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