March 14, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
The Florida State University men’s basketball team has accepted an invitation to play in the 36-team 2004 Owings Corning National Invitation Men’s Basketball Tournament after finishing its regular season with an 18-13 record. The Seminoles will travel to play at Wichita State Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST.
The Shockers finished with a 21-10 record and advanced to the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament where they lost to eventual tournament champion Northern Iowa.
The opening (March 15, 16, 17), first (March 16, 17, 18, 19), second (March 20, 22, 23) and quarterfinal (March 24, 25, 26) rounds of the NIT will be played at campus sites. The semifinal (March 30) and championship rounds (April 1) will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York.
It marks the first time since 1998 Florida State will play in the postseason. The Seminoles advanced to the second round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament.
The Seminoles’ appearance in the 2004 NIT marks their fourth appearance in the event and have a 6-3 (.667) record in the event. Florida State most recently appeared in the NIT and advanced to the championship game before falling to Michigan, 82-73. The Seminoles defeated Syracuse (82-67 at Syracuse, N.Y.), Michigan State (68-63 in Tallahassee), West Virginia (76-71 in Morgantown, W.V) and Connecticut (71-65 in New York City).
The Seminoles advanced to the second round of the NIT in both 1984 and 1987. Each of the three times the Seminoles have played in the NIT they have won at least their first round game. The Seminoles had a 4-1 record in the event in advancing to the championship game in 1997.
Florida State, from the Atlantic Coast Conference, defeated four nationally ranked teams and finished with an 18-13 record. The Seminoles defeated then No. 7 North Carolina (Jan. 22, 90-81), then No. 10 Wake Forest (Jan. 25, 75-70), then No. 15 Georgia Tech (81-65, Feb. 3) and then No. 24 Maryland (Dec. 28, 79-75) and played eight teams which were selected to play in the NCAA Tournament.
Florida State’s appearance in the 2004 NIT marks the ninth postseason appearance Leonard Hamilton during his 16-year head coaching career. He has transformed the Seminoles, who won 12 games the season before his arrival, into a team of national stature. Hamilton will be making his fifth appearance as a head coach in the NIT; he took his 1989 and 1990 teams at Oklahoma State as well as his 1995 and 1997 teams at Miami to the NIT.