FSU on a Roll

<B>Florida State's </b>76-57 victory over Virginia on Tuesday gives the Seminoles needed momentum heading into their final four regular-season games. And what a quartet it is -- No. 16 North Carolina, No. 15 Wake Forest, No. 3 Duke and No. 18 Georgia Tech. Three are on the road, Duke is at the Civic Center on Feb. 29.

Florida State (18-8 overall, 6-6 in Atlantic Coast Conference) has not won this many regular-season games since the 1992-93 season under coach Pat Kennedy.

That's also the last time the Seminoles included themselves in the upper tier of the league standings in mid-February.


FSU coach Leonard Hamilton isn't.

When asked what 6-6 meant to his players, Hamilton quipped, "Means we are 6-6. If you want that 6-6 to mean something you have to keep winning."

Well, the next three weeks will be fun to chart.

As FSU fans are well aware, the last time the Seminoles received an invite to the NCAA Tourney was 1997-98, when first-year coach Steve Robinson finished 18-14.

Five consecutive losing seasons have followed, though Hamilton's first year last season was considered a huge success at 14-15.

That momentum has carried into this year.

Still, FSU must overcome one last huge obstacle if it wants to end the regular-season on a positive note and impress the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee in the process.

Win on the road.

The team's last ACC road win was in March 2001. The Seminoles play at North Carolina on Saturday. They travel to Wake Forest next week. Their home finale is against Duke. The season finale is at Georgia Tech.

Four games. Four opponents in the Top 25. "It's a unique and special opportunity," Hamilton said.

"And it's tough. But if you're serious about improving the status of your progam, you have to do something to validate it."

The Seminoles did validate one position against Virginia. By winning, they have virtually assured a finish no worse than seventh in the ACC -- quite the accomplishment for a team that has has been in the "play-in" game of the ACC Tournament the past six years.

"I think we know what's at stake (in last four games)," said forward Adam Waleskowski, who had 15 points and eight rebounds against the Cavs.

"There's an excitement all around this team."

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