March 20, 2006 - by
Florida State Plays Host To South Carolina In NIT Tuesday Night At 7 P.M.

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March 20, 2006

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State, which has won 20 games for the first time since the 1996-97 season, plays host to South Carolina in the “Sweet 16” round of the 2006 NIT Tournament on Tuesday March 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State is the No. 2 seed and South Carolina is the No. 3 seed in the South Region bracket of the 2006 NIT. The Seminoles advanced to the game with a bye in the opening round and a victory over Butler (March 17, 67-63) in the first round of the tournament on March 17 in Tallahassee. South Carolina also earned a bye in the opening round before defeating Western Kentucky, 74-55, in Columbia on March 15. Florida State enters Tuesday’s game against South Carolina with a 14-2 record at home this season. The Seminoles’ .875 winning percentage at home is tied for the best single season winning percentage since the Seminoles joined the ACC for the 1991-92 season. Florida State’s 1992-93 team which advanced to the “Elite 8” of the NCAA Tournament and its 1986-87 team which advanced to the second round of the NIT also had 14-2 records and a .875 winning percentages at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center. Florida State was a perfect 10-0 at home (1.000 wining percentage) during the 1973-74 season. The Seminoles’ 1967-68 team had a 12-1 record and a school record .923 winning percentage. Florida State’s 14 wins at home are also tied for the third most in school history – tied with the Seminoles’ 1987 and 2004 teams. The winner of Tuesday night’s game between Florida State and South Carolina will advanced to meet the winner of the Minnesota at Cincinnati game which is also scheduled to be played Tuesday night. The two winners will meet Thursday night at the home of the highest remaining seed.

SEMINOLES REACH 20-WIN MARK FOR FIRST TIME UNDER HAMILTON
Florida State comes into Tuesday’s game against South Carolina in the second round of the NIT with a 20-9 record. It marks only the second time in the last 10 seasons that the Seminoles have won 20 or more games in a single season with 20 wins coming most recently during the 1996-97 season when the Seminoles played in the championship game of the postseason NIT. The Seminoles’ finished the season with a 9-7 record in the ACC with the nine conference wins marking the most in league play for the Seminoles since finishing with a 12-4 record during the 1992-93 season. Florida State’s winning ACC record ended a 12-year streak of losing records in conference play (1993-94 through 2004-05). Florida State’s 6-2 record at home in the ACC is tied for the second best home mark ever – tied with the Seminoles’ 2003-04 team that also finished with a 6-2 mark.

THE LAST TIME…
…Florida State won at least 20 games in a season (1996-97; 20-10) it advanced to the finals of the postseason NIT. The Seminoles won at Syracuse, defeated Michigan State and West Virginia in Tallahassee, defeated Connecticut in the semifinals and fell to Michigan in the championship game;
…Florida State won at least 20 games and lost to Wake Forest in its first game in the ACC Tournament, it advanced to the championship finals of the postseason NIT. The Seminoles enter the second round of the 2006 NIT with a 20-9 record and lost to Wake Forest in the first round of 2006 ACC Tournament.

LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat South Carolina and advance to the third round of the NIT. The Seminoles would advance to play the winner of Tuesday night’s Minnesota and Cincinnati game. That game would be played on Thursday night March 23. The winner of that game would advance to the NIT Semifinals in New York’s Madison Square Garden on March 28;
…Defeat South Carolina and win its 21st game of the 2005-06 season. The last time Florida State won 21 or more games in a single season was during the 1992 season when they finished the season with a 25-10 record and an appearance in the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament;
…Defeat South Carolina and win its second game of an NIT for the first time since advancing to the tournament finals during the 1997 season;
…Defeat South Carolina and play a game on March 23. The Seminoles most recently played as late as March 23 during the second round of the 2004 NIT.
…Defeat South Carolina and win its single-season school record tying 15th home game of the season. Seminole Head Coach Leonard Hamilton led Florida State to a 15-3 home record (19-14 overall) during the 2004 season. Florida State advanced to the second round of the NIT that season. Florida State also won 15 home games during the 1974-75 season.

SEMINOLES HISTORY IN THE NIT
Florida State’s selection to play in the NIT marks the fifth time in the history of the program that the Seminoles are playing in the NIT. Florida State finished as the runner-up in the 1997 NIT when it defeated Syracuse, Michigan State, West Virginia and Connecticut on its way to the finals before falling to Michigan in the championship game. The Seminoles most recently appeared in the NIT during the 2004 season when it finished with a 1-1 record with a victory over Wichita State and a loss to Iowa State. The Seminoles have an all-time record of 8-4 and a winning percentage of .667 percent in five NIT appearances.

Leonard Hamilton IN THE NIT
Fourth-year Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton has now guided six different teams at three different schools into the NIT. He has a record of 4-5 in nine career 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.

SEMINOLES AT HOME UNDER HAMILTON
Florida State enters Tuesday’s game against South Carolina having won 12 consecutive non-conference home games. The streak dates back to an 83-52 victory over South Alabama on Dec. 16, 2004. The Seminoles are 8-0 in non-ACC home games and were 6-2 in ACC home games this season. The Seminoles only two home losses this season came against No 10 North Carolina (Jan. 22, 81-80) and against Miami (Jan. 29, 84-78 in overtime). Overall, during Leonard Hamilton’s four-year tenure at Florida State, the Seminoles are 49-17 (.742 winning percentage) at home and are 28-3 (.903 winning percentage) in non-conference home games.

PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE...
F	#12	Al Thornton (16.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg; 27 pts and 12 rebs vs. NIT Participant Maryland, 2/22/06)
F	#32	Alexander Johnson (12.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg; 20 pts and 9 rebs vs. NIT Participant Butler, 3/17/06)
G	#3	Isaiah Swann (8.1 ppg, 2.9 apg; 16 pts and 2 rebs vs. NIT participant Nebraska, 12/31/05)
G	#4	Todd Galloway (7.6 ppg, 3.2 apg; 17 pts and 3 asts vs. NIT Participant Miami, 1/29/06)
G	#21	Jason Rich (10.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg; 22 pts and 8 rebs vs. NIT Participant Butler, 2/17/06)
...AND TOP RESERVES...
G	#20	Andrew Wilson (6.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg; 21 pts and 1 reb vs. NIT Participant Virginia, 2/18/06)
F	#25	Diego Romero (4.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg; 7 pts and 4 rebs vs. NIT Participant Miami, 1/29/06)
G	#10	Ralph Mims (3.9 ppg, 1.7 apg; 4 pts and 6 asts vs. NIT Participant Butler, 3/17/06)
G	#11	Jerel Allen (3.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg; 11 pts and 2 rebs vs. NIT Participant Wake Forest, 1/24/06)
F	#15	Casaan Breeden (2.9 ppg, 1.2 rpg; 3 pts and 0 rebs vs. NIT Participant Butler, 3/17/06)
F	#41	Uche Echefu (2.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg; 4 pts and 1 reb vs. NIT Participant Clemson, 1/4/06)

PROBABLE STARTERS FOR SOUTH CAROLINA
F	#14	Antoine Tisby (5.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg; 16 pts and 1 stls vs. NIT Participant W. Ken, 3/15/06)
F	#21	Tarence Kinsey (15.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg; 23 pts and 4 stls vs. NIT Participant W. Ken., 3/15/06)
G	#33	Brandon Wallace (7.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg; 10 pts and 6 rebs vs. NIT Participant Temple, 12/22/05)
G	#1	Tre' Kelley (12.0 ppg, 4.4 apg; 29 pts and 3 asts vs. NIT Participant Vanderbilt, 1/18/06)
G	#10	Rocky Trice (6.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg; 12 pts and 1 asts vs. NIT Participant Clemson, 12/3/05)

FLORIDA STATE VS. SOUTH CAROLINA --  A SERIES HISTORY
The Series: Florida State leads the series, 16-13
Last Game: March 7, 1991; Florida State 65, South Carolina 55
Last Florida State Win: March 7, 1991; Florida State 65, South Carolina 55
Last South Carolina Win: Jan. 20, 1990; South Carolina 56, Florida State 53
Last Florida State Win In NIT: March 17, 2006; Florida State 67, Butler 63
Last South Carolina Win In NIT: March 15, 2006; South Carolina 74, W. Kentucky 55
Florida State vs. Carolina in NIT: First Meeting
Florida State vs. S. Carolina, Current Streak: Florida State has won 4
Leonard Hamilton vs. South Carolina: First Meeting

FLORIDA STATE VS. SOUTH CAROLINA – THE LAST GAME
Douglas Edwards earned a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead Florida State to a 65-55 victory over South Carolina in the first round of the Metro Conference Championship tournament on March 7, 1991 at the Salem County Civic Center in Roanoke, Va. Edwards was joined in double-figure scoring by Charlie Ward (12, points), Michael Polite (10) and Rodney Dobard (10). Alex English led South Carolina with 16 points. The game was tied at 26 at halftime before the Seminoles outscored the Gamecocks, 39-29, to gain the victory. The Seminoles won the game despite shooting only .382 percent (21-of-55) from the field and only .286 (four-of-14) from the 3-point line. The Seminoles, did though, make 14 of 19 attempts from the free throw line to earn the victory. Following its victory over South Carolina, the Seminoles defeated Virginia Tech (March 8; 91-71) in the tournament semifinals and defeated Louisville (March 9; 76-69) to earn their first ever Metro Conference Championship. Florida State then advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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