March 17, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Florida State will play host to Florida Gulf Coast in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday, March 18, at 7:00 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles are one of four No. 1 seeds in the 32-team tournament and will face one of the four No. 8 seeds in the Eagles. The Eagles won the regular season championship of the Atlantic Sun Conference before losing in the finals of their conference tournament to Mercer. The winner of Tuesday’s game between Florida State and Florida Gulf Coast will meet the winner of the Georgetown vs. West Virginia game at a yet-to-be determined date. Florida State enters the NIT with a 19-13 record and finished in a tie for seventh place in the ACC with a 9-9 record. The Seminoles were 1-1 in the ACC Tournament with a victory over Maryland. Florida State is the third winningest program in the ACC since the start of the 2005-06 season and is looking to win 20 games under Hamilton for the seventh time. The Seminoles have won four of their last six games entering Tuesday’s game, including a victory over NCAA Tournament participant Pitt (Feb. 23, 71-66). The Seminoles played 12 games against teams that were selected to play in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
FLORIDA STATE MAKING NINTH CONSECUTIVE POSTSEASON APPEARANCE
The Seminoles’ selection to the 2014 NIT marks the school-record ninth consecutive postseason appearance for the Seminoles – all under 12th year Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. The Seminoles have appeared in the NIT in six seasons under Hamilton (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013 and 2014) and made a school record four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 2009-2012. With its appearance in the 2014 NIT, Florida State has made 23 postseason appearances with nine coming under the direction of Hamilton – the most of any coach in Florida State basketball history.
FLORIDA STATE PLAYING FOR 20 WINS
Florida State enters its game against Florida Gulf Coast looking to defeat the Eagles and win its 20th game of the season. A victory over the Eagles for 20 wins would give the Seminoles 20 wins in five of the last six seasons and in seven of Leonard Hamilton‘s 12 seasons at Florida State. Prior to Hamilton’s arrival for the 2002-03 season in Tallahassee, the Seminoles had won at least 20 games only once in the previous nine seasons. With its win over Maryland on Thursday, the Seminoles surpassed their victory total from a year ago when they finished with an 18-16 record.
LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat Florida Gulf Coast and defeat the Eagles for the first time in the first meeting between the two teams; …Defeat Florida Gulf Coast and win its first round game in the NIT for the seventh time in nine NIT appearances. The Seminoles won their initial game in the first six NIT’s they participated in; …Defeat Florida Gulf Coast and win its fourth game of the season against a team from the state of Florida. The Seminoles defeated Jacksonville (November 8, 91-67), UCF (November 13, 80-68) and Miami (January 15, 63-53) during the regular season.
SEMINOLES’ THOMAS NAMED ALL-ACC HONORABLE MENTION
Sophomore Aaron Thomas, who enters the 2014 NIT averaging a team-leading 14.1 points scored per game, earned All-ACC Honorable Mention honors as voted on by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. It marks the ninth consecutive season and 11th time in the 12 seasons under head coach Leonard Hamilton that the Seminoles have had at least one player earn All-ACC Honors. Thomas enters the 2014 NIT ranked 13th in the ACC in scoring and tied for fourth in steals.
MILLER NAMED SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR IN VOTE BY THE LEAGUES HEAD COACHES
Senior Ian Miller, who is Florida State’s second leading scorer coming off the bench in 23 of 30 games, was named the ACC’s Sixth Man of the Year in a vote by the league’s 15 head coaches. Miller came off the Seminoles’ bench in his first 23 games of the season before being inserted in to the starting line-up and ranks 16th in the ACC in scoring (13.7) and third in the ACC in free throw percentage (.863).
MILLER NAMED ACC SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR BY COLLEGEHOOPSDAILY.COM
Senior Ian Miller, who enters the 2014 NIT averaging a career-high 13.7 points scored per game, was named the ACC’s Sixth Man of The Year by CollegeHoopsDaily.com.
WHITE NAMED TO ALL-ACC DEFENSIVE TEAM BY ACC COACHES
Senior Okaro White, who is averaging 1.0 blocked shots and 0.7 steals as a senior, was named to the All-ACC Defensive Team by the 15 ACC coaches. White earned 18 blocked shots in 18 ACC games and enters the 2014 NIT with 100 career blocked shots – he became only the 13th player in school history with 100 or more career blocked shots against Maryland on March 13 in the ACC Tournament. White is the anchor of Florida State’s defensive effort which has been ranked among the best in the ACC and nation throughout the season. The Seminoles are ranked second in the ACC in blocked shots, third in the ACC in field goal percentage defense and sixth in steals and scoring defense.
SEMINOLES SOLIDIFY ACC FIELD GOAL SHOOTING PERCENTAGE LEAD
Florida State, which has shot 50 percent or better in 13 of its 32 games this season, enters the 2014 NIT as the leaders in field goal shooting percentage in the ACC. The Seminoles are shooting .465 from the field and are looking to lead the ACC in field goal shooting percentage for the first time since joining the league for the 1991-92 season. The Seminoles have shot 50 percent or better from the field 13 times and are 10-3 when making at least half of their shots in a game.
FLORIDA STATE IS ONE OF ONLY TWO IN THE ACC
Florida State is one of only two teams in the ACC to have three players ranked in the top-20 of the individual scoring category. Sophomore Aaron Thomas is ranked 13th (14.1 ppg), senior Ian Miller is ranked 16th (13.7 ppg) and senior Okaro White is ranked 20th (13.2 ppg). Only Florida State and Notre Dame have three players ranked in the top 20 for individual scoring in the ACC this season.
Okaro White IN THE ACC STATISTICS
Seminole Senior Okaro White, who ranks 14th in the ACC in rebounding and 20th in the ACC in scoring, is one of only nine players who ranks in the top 20 of both the individual scoring and rebounding categories in the ACC statistics.