The Florida State men’s basketball team returns to the hardwood Tuesday night to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers in an NIT semifinal in Madison Square Garden. The game is a rematch of the December 3rd showdown won by Minnesota, 71-61. The winner will play the victor of the SMU/Clemson matchup played prior to the FSU game.
One of the leaders of the ‘Nole squad is senior guard Ian Miller, the team’s second-leading scorer, who’s well aware that, one way or another, his Seminole career comes to a close this week. ChopChat had a chance to catch up with Miller and ask him some questions:
How has the trip been so far?
I mean it’s been everything I expected it to be, you know, city lifestyle and all. Nothing that really shocked me, there’s entertainment, you know? Everything’s cool right now.
Done anything fun yet?
Walked around yesterday, downtown and Broadway and Times Square just to see what it was like and people out there are just really, really cool, man. I didn’t expect a lot of people to know me like they did, you know? But it feels good to be up here right now.
How does your familiarity with Minnesota prepare you for this game?
It’s tremendous, we know our faults — even though both teams have gotten a lot better over the season — we all know the mistakes we made and we’re going to do our best to correct them and follow coach’s gameplan so we can try to get another banner hung at Florida State.
What would it mean to you personally to go out winning the NIT?
It’s the most important thing on my mind right now because without Florida State, I can’t get where I need to go in life. So, I want to make sure I leave a good legacy behind. That would be two championships [2012 ACC Tournament] that me and Okaro have [won]… A lot of people don’t get the chance to do that so I just want to maximize this opportunity.
Where do you see Florida State in the national landscape of college basketball right now?
Right now, we’re right up there with the top 25 teams with how we’re playing right now. I think a lot of people know that we should’ve been in the NCAA tournament, we had a few losses that we shouldn’t have had, we should’ve pulled them out, I mean everything happens for a reason but I think everyone knows we should’ve been in.
Right now if we can just win the NIT it will just really prove that point, really push it home that Florida State is a good team. And that we’re a program on the rise and really just sets the tempo for the young guys next year. Me and Okaro want to leave a high tempo for Aaron and Montay and those guys who are returning so they can have the respect level when they go into the gym, other teams know that they’re going to have to bring it 110% to even have a chance to win it. That’s the kind of legacy you want to leave.