July 24, 2006 - by
ESPN’s Vitale Tabs Seminole Basketball Team Among Nation’s Best

July 24, 2006

With the start of men’s basketball practice less than three months away, noted college basketball analyst Dick Vitale has begun the madness in July with the release of his list of the pre-season top 40 teams in the nation. Vitale, who has been lending his expert analysis to the game on ESPN since 1979, has tabbed the Florida State men’s basketball team as the fifth best in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the 38th best in the nation.

Florida State is selected fifth in the ACC behind No. 1 North Carolina, No. 10 Duke, No. 13 Boston College and No. 24 Georgia Tech. The Seminoles finished fifth in the ACC with a 9-7 record during the 2005-06 season. It was the third highest finish in the ACC standings for the Seminoles since they joined the nation’s strongest conference in 1991.

Vitale says: “Leonard Hamilton will rely on his guards. Former Auburn star Toney Douglas will have an impact.”

Florida State will also rely on All-America, National and ACC Player of the Year candidate Al Thornton who averaged 16.1 points and 6.9 rebounds as a junior last season. He earned All-ACC Second-Team and NABC All-District First-Team honors in leading the Seminoles to the second round of the NIT in 2006.

The Seminoles are scheduled to play eight of the teams in Vitale’s top 40 including North Carolina, No. 2 Florida, No. 6 Pittsburgh, Duke, No. 11 Wisconsin, Boston College, Georgia Tech and No. 40 Maryland.

Florida State, who defeated No. 1 ranked Duke during the 2005-06 season, returns three starters and nine letter winners for the 2006-07 season as it looks to continue building on the rock-solid foundation which has been put into place by Hamilton, Florida State’s fifth-year head coach . Led by Thornton, the Seminoles return more than 60 percent of their total scoring (.647 percent) and rebounding (.603 percent) from a season ago. Thornton is Florida State’s leading returning scorer, rebounder and leader in both field goals and free throws made as he enters the 2006-07 season as one of the nation’s top collegiate players.

Practice officially begins on Oct. 15 for the 2006-07 season.

Dick Vitale's Pre-Season Top 40
1.  North Carolina   11.  Wisconsin        21.  Kentucky       31.  Wichita State
2.  Florida          12.  Marquette        22.	Gonzaga        32.  Creighton
3.  Kansas           13.  Boston College   23.	Texas A&M      33.  California
4.  Ohio State       14.  Arizona          24.	Georgia Tech   34.  Texas Tech
5.  UCLA             15.  Connecticut      25.	Xavier         35.  Nevada
6.  Pittsburgh       16.  Villanova        26.	Oklahoma St.   36.  Arkansas
7.  LSU              17.  Memphis          27.	Illinois       37.  Michigan
8.  Alabama          18.  Tennessee        28.	Washington     38.  Florida State
9.  Georgetown       19.  Texas            29.  S. Illinois    39.  South Carolina
10. Duke             20.  Louisville       30.  San Diego St.  40.  Maryland
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