March 12, 2007 - by
Florida State Opens NIT Play Against Toledo Tuesday At 6:00 p.m.

March 12, 2007

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State, which has won 20 games in each of the last two seasons, plays host to Toledo in the first round of the 2007 Mastercard NIT Tournament on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles are the No. 2 seed in the North Region of the four region tournament. Florida State is making its second consecutive appearance in the NIT – the Seminoles were 1-1 in the 2006 event with a victory over Butler (March 17, 67-63) an overtime loss against South Carolina (March 21, 69-68). Florida State’s appearance in the 2007 NIT is its sixth in the history of the tournament. The Seminoles are 5-0 in five previous first round games and advanced to the tournament finals in 1997 with victories over Syracuse, Michigan State, West Virginia and Connecticut before falling to Michigan in the championship game. The winner of Tuesday’s game between Florida State and Toledo advances to the second round to meet the winner of Monday night’s game between Michigan and Utah State. As the highest seeded team in that quartet, the Seminoles would host their second round game on March 15, 16, 17 or 19 at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

Florida State's NIT Tournament Appearances
Season   Site             Round    Record     Opponent(s)
1984     Raleigh, N.C.    1        1-0        Florida State 74, NC State 71 (ot)
         Greensboro, N.C. 2        0-1        Pittsburgh 66, Florida State 63
1987     Tallahassee, FL  1        1-0        Florida State 107, Rhode Island 92
         Nashville, TN    2        0-1        Vanderbilt 109, Florida State 92
1997     Syracuse, N.Y.   1        1-0        Florida State 82, Syracuse 67
         Tallahassee, FL  2        1-0        Florida State 68, Michigan State 63
         Morgantown, W.V. 3        1-0        Florida State 76, West Virginia 71
         New York, N.Y.   SF       1-0        Florida State 71, Connecticut 65
         New York, N.Y.   F        0-1        Michigan 82, Florida State 73
2004     Wichita, KS      1        1-0        Florida State 91, Wichita State 84 (2 ot)
         Tallahassee, FL  2        0-1        Iowa State 62, Florida State 59
2006     Tallahassee, FL  1        1-0        Florida State 67, Butler 63
         Tallahassee, FL  2        0-1        South Carolina 69, Florida State 68 (ot)

THORNTON EARNS ALL-AMERICA SECOND TEAM HONORS
Al Thornton, who earned All-ACC First-Team honors as was the ACC Player of the Year runner-up, has earned All-America Second Team honors by Sports Illustrated.Com. Thornton’s All-America Second-team selection makes him the first Seminole since Ron King in 1972 to earn All-America honors higher than honorable mention status. King was an All-America First-Team selection by the Helms Foundation in leading the Seminoles to the 1972 NCAA Championship game. Said the editors of SI.Com: “Thornton was one of three unanimous selections to the All-ACC squad and narrowly missed winning conference Player of the Year honors. Thornton led the Seminoles to upsets of Florida and Duke and carried his team to a victory when it mattered most, leading FSU to a win over Clemson in the first round of the ACC tournament. Thornton was joined on the All-America Second-Team by UCLA’s Darren Collison, North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough, Tennessee’s Chris Lofton and Ohio State’s Greg Oden.

LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat Toledo and win its first round NIT game for the sixth consecutive time. The Seminoles are undefeated, 5-0, in five previous NIT first round games;
…Defeat Toledo and win its 21st game of the season. The Seminoles have not won 21 games or more in a single season since winning 25 and advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament during the 1992-93 season;
…Defeat Toledo and win its school record tying 15th home game of the season. The Seminoles are 14-3 at home with five victories over ACC teams and the No. 1 overall seed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament – Florida (70-66, Dec. 3).

THORNTON EARNS ALL-ACC FIRST TEAM HONORS
All-America candidate Al Thornton, who leads the ACC in overall scoring with a career-high 20.0 points per game average and in conference games only scoring with a career-high 23.5 points per game scoring average earned All-ACC First-Team honors in a vote by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. Thornton became only the third player in Seminole basketball history to earn All-ACC First-team honors and the second in the five-year tenure of Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. Thornton joins Bob Sura (1993-94) and Tim Pickett (2003-04) as All-ACC First-Team selections from Florida State. Thornton is a two-time All-ACC selection after earning All-ACC Second-Team honors as a junior during the 2005-06 season.

Leonard Hamilton IN THE NIT
Fifth-year Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton has now guided seven different teams at three different schools into the NIT. He has a record of 4-6 in 10 previous NIT games with two wins as the head coach at Oklahoma State and two as the head coach at Florida State. Hamilton guided his second team at Florida State in 2004 to the second round of the NIT and his fourth team in 2006 into the second round of the NIT.

Leonard Hamilton's NIT Tournament Appearances
Season  Site               Round   Record    Opponent(s)
1889    Stillwater, OK     1       1-0       Oklahoma State 69, Boise State 55
        Jamaica, N.Y.      2       0-1       St. John's 76, Oklahoma State 64
1990    Tulsa, OK          1       1-0       Oklahoma State 83, Tulsa 74
        Albuquerque, N.M.  2       0-1       New Mexico 90, Oklahoma State 88
1995    State College, PA  1       0-1       Penn State 62, Miami 56
1997    Ann Arbor, MI      1       0-1       Michigan 76, Miami 63
2004    Wichita, KS        1       1-0       Florida State 91, Wichita State 84 (2 ot)
        Tallahassee, FL    2       0-1       Iowa State 62, Florida State 59
2006    Tallahassee, FL    1       1-0       Florida State 67, Butler 63
        Tallahassee, FL    2       0-1       South Carolina 69, Florida State 68 (ot)

NOTING THE SEMINOLES IN THE NIT TOURNAMENT…
…Florida State has played in the NIT five times and has won its first round game each time. The Seminoles defeated NC State to open the 1984 NIT; Rhode Island to open the 1987 NIT; Syracuse to begin the 1997 NIT; Wichita State to start the 2004 NIT and Butler to start the 2006 NIT.
…Florida State has won six of its last eight NIT games with a 4-1 record during the 1987 NIT and 1-1 record during the 2004 and 2006 NIT’s;
…Florida State is 2-1 in overtime games in NIT play. The Seminoles defeated NC State in overtime in their first ever NIT game in 1984 and beat Wichita State in double overtime in 2004. The Seminoles were defeated by South Carolina, 69-68 in overtime in 2006;
…Florida State is 3-2 in home games in the NIT. The Seminoles defeated Rhode Island at home in 1987 and Michigan State at home in 1997 before falling to Iowa State at home in 2004. The Seminoles defeated Butler before falling to South Carolina in the 2006 NIT.
…Florida State’s longest winning streak in NIT play came during the 1987 Tournament when it advanced to the championship finals with consecutive victories over Syracuse, Michigan State, West Virginia and Connecticut.

LOOKING INTO THE SEMINOLES 20-11 RECORD
Florida State finished the regular season with an overall record of 20-12 and an ACC record of 7-9. Florida State’s 20 wins marks the second consecutive season the Seminoles have won 20 games – the Seminoles finished the 2005-06 season with a 20-10 record. It also marks the third time in the last four seasons that the Seminoles have won 19 or more games. The Seminoles have won at least 19 games in three of the first five seasons of the Leonard Hamilton era at Florida State. The Seminoles finished with a 14-3 record at home and a winning percentage of .823. It marked the second consecutive season the Seminoles have won at least 80 percent of their home games after recording a 13-2 record at home during the 2005-06 season for a winning percentage of .867 – the second best home winning percentage in school history. The Seminoles finished with a 5-3 record in home conference games marking the second consecutive season the Seminoles have won at least five conference games at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center.

PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE
F	#12	Al Thornton (20.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg; 8 pts and 6 rebs vs. South Carolina in 2006 NIT)
F	#41	Uche Echefu (7.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg; 0 pts and 2 rebs vs. Butler in 2006 NIT)
G	#3	Isaiah Swann (9.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg; 16 pts and 3 rebs vs. South Carolina in 2006 NIT)
G	#23	Toney Douglas (12.8 ppg, 2.8 apg; First career NIT appearance)
G	#25	Jason Rich (10.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg; 22 pts and 8 rebs vs. Butler in 2006 NIT)
...AND TOP RESERVES
G	#10	Ralph Mims (5.2 ppg, 2.3 apg; 4 pts and 6 asts vs. Butler in 2006 NIT)
G	#11	Jerel Allen (5.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg; 1 pts and 2 rebs vs. Butler in 2006 NIT)
F	#15	Casaan Breeden (2.8 ppg, 0.9 rpg; 3 pts and ast vs. Butler in 2006 NIT)
F	#42	Ryan Reid (2.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg; First career NIT appearance)

PROBABLE STARTERS FOR TOLEDO
F	#22	Keonta Howell (15.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
F	#42	Florentino Valencia (13.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg)
G	#10	Kashif Payne (7.7 ppg, 4.3 apg)
G	#20	Justin Ingram (14.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg)
G	#23	Ridley Johnson (3.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg)

FLORIDA STATE VS. TOLEDO  -- A SERIES HISTORY
The Series: Florida State leads, 2-0
Last Game: March 7, 1980; Florida State 94, at Toledo 91
Last Florida State Win: March 7, 1980; Florida State 94, at Toledo 91
Last Toledo Win: None
Last Florida State win in NIT Tournament: None
Last Toledo win in NIT Tournament: None
Current Streak vs. Toledo: Florida State has won 2
Leonard Hamilton vs. Toledo: First Meeting

FLORIDA STATE VS. TOLEDO – THE LAST GAME
Florida State defeated Toledo, 94-91, in the first round of the Mideast Regional in the 1980 NCAA Tournament at Bowling Green., Ohio. The eighth seeded Seminoles jumped out to a 20-16 lead six minutes into the game – one that turned into a high scoring affair. Trailing 48-43 going into halftime, but with four of their five starters already in double figures, the Seminoles continued the scoring into the second half. Florida State trailed in the early portion of the second half and traded leads with the Rockets before taking the lead for good with 1:49 to play on a turnaround jump shot by forward Murray Brown. The Seminoles behind forward Rodney Arnold’s 29 points. Brown (26) and Dillard (22) both had 20 point games for the Seminoles. Toledo’s leading scorer was forward Jim Swaney with 22 points. Florida State’s victory gave them a 22-8 record and sent them to the second round of the Tournament against Kentucky where they fell to the No. 1 seeded Wildcats, 97-78.

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