March 11, 2003 - by
Florida State Plays Clemson In Opening Round of 50th ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament

March 11, 2003

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Florida State plays Clemson in the opening round of the 50th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. As the youngest member of the ACC, the Seminoles are making their 12th appearance in the event with their first year of participation coming at the end of the 1991-92 season. Florida State has won at least one game in three of its last four appearances in the tournament and advanced to the semifinal round in 1992. Florida State enters the ACC Tournament with three victories in the second half of its ACC season with victories coming against then No. 5 ranked Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia. The Seminoles defeated the Cavaliers, 74-59, March 1 in Tallahassee.

Junior guard Tim Pickett earned All-ACC second team honors as named by the Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Association. It marked the first honor of its kind for Pickett who is playing his first season in the ACC as a member of the Seminoles. Pickett enters the 50th annual ACC Tournament as the league leader in steals and 3-point field goals made per game as well as ranking in the top 15 in six other conference statistical categories. Pickett is the first Florida State player to earn All-ACC honors (above honorable mention) since the 1999-00 season when Ron Hale and Damous Anderson earned All-ACC third team honors. Pickett is the second Seminole junior college player in two years to earn All-ACC honors. Guard Monte Cummings earned All-ACC honorable mention honors last season. Sam Cassell, another junior college transfer to star for the Seminoles, earned All-ACC second team honors in 1992 and 1993.

Junior Tim Pickett was named to the all-defensive team in a vote by the Atlantic Coast Sports Writers Association. Pickett, who leads the ACC in steals entering the ACC Tournament with 77, is looking to become the first Seminole to lead the league in steals since Charlie Ward in 1993. Pickett is also looking to become the first non-Duke or Maryland player to lead the league in steals since Ward in 1993. Ward and Sam Cassell (in 1992) are the only two Florida State players to lead the league in steals since the Seminoles entered the league in 1992.

Florida State is ranked ninth in the nation in field goal percentage defense and 19th in the nation in steals. The Seminoles, who hold their opponents to .390 shooting from the field, have been ranked in the nation’s top 10 throughout the season and were the nation’s toughest team to shoot against during the first week in December. The Seminoles are averaging 9.4 steals per game in averaging more than nine steals per game for the fourth time since the 1977-78 season.

…Win its opening round game in the ACC Tournament for the fourth time in the last five years. The Seminoles defeated Clemson, 91-84 (OT), in the first round of the 2002 tournament;
…Win a game in the ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum for the first time in school history. The Seminoles are 0-4 in tournament games played in Greensboro;
…Defeat Clemson for the second time in a season for the second consecutive season. The Seminoles defeated Clemson once in the regular season and in the ACC Tournament last season;
…Play Clemson in the ACC Tournament for the fifth time in school history. The Seminoles are 2-2 against Clemson in ACC Tournament play.

Florida State enters the 50th Annual ACC Tournament ranked third in the ACC and ninth in the nation with a .390 field goal percentage defense mark. The Seminoles were ranked No. 2 in the ACC throughout most of the regular season until they were overtaken by Wake Forest. During the Seminoles 16-game ACC season, they held seven of the eight ACC teams below their season field goal percentage average. Only NC State and Clemson shot above their season average against the Seminoles defense.

Seminoles’ Tough Defense
Opponent Season vs. Florida State Difference

Maryland .469 .457 -.012
Wake Forest .457 .408 -.049
Duke .452 .367 -.085
NC State .452 .480 +.028
Georgia Tech .449 .407 -.042
Clemson .449 .479 +.030
Virginia .446 .403 -.043
North Carolina .421 .365 -.056

Florida State has held its last three opponents (Wake Forest, Virginia and Duke) to a combined .380 field goal shooting percentage. The Seminoles held regular season league champion Wake Forest to 21 field goals and a .396 shooting percentage in falling just four points shy of defeating Demon Deacons Feb. 26. The Seminoles then held Virginia to .355 shooting from the field in defeating the Cavaliers March 1 and limited to Duke to .393 from the field in their final regular season game of the season in Durham.

Florida State Clamping Down From The Field
Opponent FGM FGA Pct. Notes

Wake Forest 21 53 .396 Wake averages 21 FGM in two games against FSU
Virginia 22 62 .355 Cavaliers make only 14 2-point baskets
Duke 22 56 .393 Duke below .400 in both games against FSU
Totals 65 171 .380 Seminoles ranked third in ACC in FG% defense

Florida State enters the ACC Tournament holding its opponents to .380 shooting from the field. The Seminoles are looking to become the first Seminole team to hold its opponents under .400 shooting from the field since the 1956-57 Florida State team held its opponent to .396 shooting from the field. During the last 44 years, the Seminoles have shot above .400 each season, included at or above .500 percent four times. Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton led Miami to the nation’s No. 1 ranking in field goal percentage defense during the 1998 season.

Florida State enters the ACC Tournament with 255 steals (9.4 spg) this season as compared to its 222 steals (7.7 spg) last season. It marks the fourth time in school history the Seminoles have averaged nine steals or more per game for the season. The Florida State school record for team steals in a single season is 9.5 during the 1977-78 season. Junior All-ACC second-team selection Tim Pickett leads the Seminoles and the ACC with a 2.9 steals per game average.

Top Steals Seasons In Seminole History
Rank Season Steals Steals/Game Notes

1. 1977-78 276 9.5 Tony Jackson leads team with 2.5 spg
2. 2002-03 255 9.4 Tim Pickett leads team with 2.9 spg
3. 1992-93 322 9.2 Sam Cassell leads team with 2.7 spg
4. 1991-92 290 9.1 Charlie Ward leads team with 2.3 spg

In addition to earning more wins this season (13) than they had last season (12), the Seminoles are much improved in most of their statistical categories. The Seminoles are running better offensive sets and playing tougher defense in becoming one of the ACC’s most improved teams.

Seminoles Overall Improvement
Category 02-03 01-02 Notes

3Field Goals Made 173 169 25 3-point shots made in the last 3 games (8.3 m/g)
Assists 373 382 ACC high 18 in win over Georgia Tech, Feb. 15
Blocks 119 102 4 or more blocked shots in 9 of 16 ACC games
Steals 255 222 Double figure steals in 11 of 27 games this season
Field Goal % Defense .390 .441 Held Wake Forest to .396 FG percentage, Jan. 26
TO Forced 443 426 Forced Duke into 21 turnovers, March 6 in Durham
Steals Allowed 186 247 Clemson with only three steals, Feb. 22 in Clemson
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