FSU basketball has had quite the season this year – but if it wants the be the best in program history, they must win this weekend’s ACC tournament.
45 years ago, FSU basketball did something it had never done before or has done since – advanced to play for a national championship.
25 years ago, the Seminoles finished their first year in the ACC in second place before getting to the Sweet 16, a feat only topped the following season by again finishing second and advancing to the Elite Eight – both seasons led by a group of four future NBA players named Ward, Cassell, Sura and Edwards.
Five years ago, it was the first ACC Tournament title in school history.
All that could be topped by this year’s Florida State team…a group that has the potential to be THE best in program history – if they can come out on top this week in Brooklyn.
Quite frankly, the days of FSU being a football school only are over. Yes, the pigskin still rules and they are one of the nation’s best, but head coach Leonard Hamilton has build the basketball program into a legit contender. Over the last dozen years, the Seminoles are one of the winningest teams in the ACC – arguably the toughest conference for basketball every year.
The 2016-17 team, in the 70th season the program has been in place, is what the school has been looking for in their basketball team. For much of the season, FSU basketball has been a ranked team – a season highlighted by a 12 game winning streak and a 5-1 record during a monster six game stretch against ranked foes (part of a 7-3 record overall against ranked teams).
Florida State Seminoles Basketball
This year’s FSU basketball team, like those in the early 1990’s, is loaded with players who will likely make the jump onto the NBA. Right now, Jonathan Isaac is a consensus lottery pick while Dwayne Bacon could go as early as the top 20 this June. Add in there players like Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Terrance Mann and you’ve got a nucleus ready for the next level. It’s a team who tied the school record for regular season wins with that national runner up team from 1972.
However, it all means nothing without a championship on the resume.
The 1972 wasn’t in a conference at the time and only loss to perennial power UCLA by five points when they weren’t supposed to get there, so they get a pass. Same with the first two ACC teams, since they at least made a deep tournament run when many viewed them as overachievers. The same can’t be said for this year’s FSU basketball team – which is why they are being held to a different standard.
This is a Seminoles team that was ranked in the top six nationally – a team that beat national championship winning programs Florida, Duke and Louisville along with national powers and recent ACC champions Notre Dame, Virginia and Miami (twice). A late season 8-6 finish to the season is considered by many experts to have been a ‘disappointment’ based on the first half of the year.
That’s why Florida State has to win the ACC if they want this team to be considered the best in program history. If that happens, the Seminoles will have lived up to expectations after their hot start – and perhaps have bought themselves some slack entering the NCAA Tournament.