Hoop it Up

Three years, ten months and twelve days have passed since the Florida State men's basketball team won an Atlantic Coast Conference game away from Tallahassee.

Despite that dubious fact, FSU's track record suggests that the Seminoles have a reasonable chance to break their 25-game ACC road losing streak when they take the court Saturday at noon opposite rival and league newcomer Miami in Coral Gables.

The Seminoles (9-7) outplayed the Hurricanes (11-3) last season on their way to a 67-58 win against UM in the Convocation Center, one of three road wins they managed over the entire season. FSU can match that total and even its conference record at 2-2 if history repeats itself.

"That's something we cannot allow to affect our concentration and focus," said Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton, who has yet to direct the Seminoles to conference road win during his tenure.

FSU won at Clemson on March 3, 2001 when former coach Steve Robinson was on the bench. Robinson is now and assistant for North Carolina.

The Hurricanes, winners of 10 of their last 11, have turned heads thus far after many preseason publications picked them to finish at or near the bottom of the conference standings. UM picked up an ACC road win in just its second attempt Wednesday with a 91-80 trashing of Virginia.

"We're a work in progress, but making a lot of improvements," Miami coach Frank Haith said. "I think we've showed that we can compete in this league."

Florida State, meanwhile, stumbles into the contest on the heels of a humbling 56-54 loss to Clemson at home Wednesday. Following the contest, Hamilton criticized his up-and-down team for exhibiting a lack of mental and emotional focus in a game in which the Seminoles committed 22 turnovers and were outrebounded 16-4 on the offensive glass.

"I have no doubt we'll respond," Hamilton said. "It seems as though we respond after an effort like we had tonight. After we lost to LSU, we came back well against Florida."

State bragging rights are also at stake – both teams have posted convincing victories over Florida during their non-conference slates.

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