March 16, 2006 - by
Seminoles Play Host To Butler Friday At 7 P.M. In NIT First Round Action

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March 16, 2006

Florida State, which finished the 2005-06 regular season with a 19-9 record and a fifth place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference, plays host to Butler in the first round of the NIT on Friday March 17 at 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee. As the No. 2 seed in their bracket, the Seminoles earned a bye through the opening round of the tournament while Butler defeated Miami (Ohio), 53-52, in the opening round on Tuesday night at home in Indianapolis. The Seminoles’ selection to play in the NIT marks the fifth time in the history of the program Florida State will play 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 7-4 and a winning percentage of .636 percent in four NIT appearances.

Florida State enters the NIT Tournament with an overall record of 19-9 and an ACC record of 9-7. It marked only the second time in the last nine years that the Seminoles won 19 or more games in a single season with 19 coming during the 2003-04 season when they advanced to the second round of the NIT. In addition, the Seminoles’ nine ACC wins marked the most in conference 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). The Seminoles finished with a 13-2 record at home which gave them a winning percentage of .867 – the second best home winning percentage in school history. Only the Seminoles’ 14-2 record and .875 winning percentage at home during the 1992-93 season was better than their record at the Donald. L. Tucker Center this season. 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 than also finished with a 6-2 mark. Florida State’s 7-1 mark at home during the 1992-93 season is the best in school history.

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 3-5 in eight previous NIT games with two wins as the head coach at Oklahoma State and one as the head coach at Florida State. Hamilton guided his second team at Florida State in 2004 to the second round of the NIT.

…Florida State has played in the NIT four 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 and Wichita State to start the 2004 NIT;
…Florida State has won five of its last seven NIT games with a 4-1 record during the 198 NIT and 1-1 record during the 2004 NIT;
…Florida State is 2-0 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;
…Florida State is 2-1 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;
…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.

…They have a 6-4 record with five ACC wins and a victory over UMass of the Atlantic 10. Florida State enters the 2006 NIT Tournament with four wins in its last six games including a victory over No. 1 Duke (March 1; 79-74).

…They have a 3-2 record with victories over Maryland (18-11, 8-8 ACC), No. 1 ranked Duke (27-3, 14-2 ACC) and at Miami (15-14, 7-9 ACC) – all three teams finished in the top eight of the ACC and Duke is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament;
…They have made 93 free throws and are shooting .710 from the field as compared to their opponents who have attempted 101 free throws and are shooting .673 from the free throw line.

Florida State finished the 2006 regular season with a 13-2 record in games played at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee. The Seminoles were 7-0 in non-conference home games and 6-2 in ACC games played at home. Florida State enters its game against Butler in the 2006 NIT having won six consecutive home games with wins coming against Duke (March 1; 79-74), Maryland (Feb. 22; 71-60) and Virginia (Feb. 18; 76-62). Duke is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament while Maryland is one of four No. 1 seeds in the 2006 NIT.

…Duke when it was ranked as the nation’s No. 1 team on March 1 in Tallahassee. Duke won 30 games and claimed the ACC Championship with a victory over Boston College on March 12 and is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament;
…Nebraska who advanced to the Big 12 Tournament semifinal game, where it lost to Kansas only one game from the championship. The Cornhuskers finished the regular season with 19 victories;
…Purdue in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Seminoles set a challenge record for margin of victory (97-57, +40) as they beat the Boilermakers of the Big Ten who defeated both Michigan and Wisconsin during the regular season;
…Wake Forest who advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament where it lost to ACC Champion Duke. The Deacons were ranked as high as 16th in the nation during the month of December.
…Maryland who finished in sixth place in the ACC with an 8-8 record and a 19-12 overall record. The Seminoles defeated the Terps by a larger margin (71-60, +11) than the No. 1 ranked Duke Blue Devils did in College Park (96-88, +8).

Florida State has a 7-3 record against six teams who were selected to play in the 2006 NIT. The Seminoles were 2-0 against Virginia, 1-0 against Maryland, 1-0 against Nebraska, and 1-1 against Miami, Wake Forest and Clemson during the regular season. The Seminoles, a No. 2 seed in the 2006 NIT, defeated a No. 1 seed (Maryland, Feb. 22, 71-60), a No. 3 seed (Miami, March 5, 67-64), a No. 4 seed (Clemson, Feb. 1, 69-59), a No. 5 seed (Wake Forest, Jan. 24, 75-68), a No. 6 seed (Nebraska, Dec. 31, 74-60) and a No. 8 seed twice (Virginia, Jan. 11, 87-82 and Feb. 18, 76-62) during the regular season.

F	#12	Al Thornton (16.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg; 27 pts and 12 rebs vs. NIT Participant Maryland, 2/22/06)
F	#32	Alexander Johnson (12.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg; 17 pts and 10 rebs vs. NIT Participant Miami, 1/29/06)
G	#3	Isaiah Swann (8.2 ppg, 2.9 apg; 16 pts and 2 rebs vs. NIT participant Nebraska, 12/31/05)
G	#4	Todd Galloway (7.9 ppg, 3.3 apg; 17 pts and 3 asts vs. NIT Participant Miami, 1/29/06)
G	#21	Jason Rich (9.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg; 20 pts and 2 rebs vs. NIT Participant Miami, 1/29/06)
G	#20	Andrew Wilson (6.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg; 21 pts and 1 reb vs. NIT Participant Virginia, 2/18/06)
F	#25	Diego Romero (4.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg; 7 pts and 4 rebs vs. NIT Participant Miami, 1/29/06)
G	#10	Ralph Mims (3.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg; 9 pts and 3 rebs vs. NIT Participant Nebraska, 12/13/05)
G	#11	Jerel Allen (3.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg; 11 pts and 2 rebs vs. NIT Participant Wake Forest, 1/24/06)
F	#15	Casaan Breeden (2.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg; 2 pts and 2 rebs vs. NIT Participant Clemson, 1/4/06)
F	#41	Uche Echefu (2.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg; 4 pts and 1 reb vs. NIT Participant Clemson, 1/4/06)

F	#20	Brandon Polk (17.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg; 23 pts and 9 rebs vs. NIT Participant Michigan, 11/26/05)
F	#33	Brandon Crone (9.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg; 11 pts and 4 asts vs. NIT Participant Michigan, 11/26/05)
G	#3	Bruce Horan (10.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg; 12 pts and 3 rebs. vs. NIT Participant Miami (Ohio), 3/14/06
G	#4	A.J. Graves (12.5 ppg, 2.5 apg; 19 pts and 4 stls vs. NIT Participant Miami (Ohio), 3/14/06)
G	#21	Avery Sheets (9.7 ppg, 3.3 apg; 7 pts and 5 rebs vs. NIT Participant Michigan, 11/26/05)

The Series: The series is tied, 1-1
Last Game: Dec. 23, 1998; Butler 77, Florida State 65
Last Florida State Win: Dec. 30, 1996; Florida State 87, Butler 68
Last Butler Win: Dec. 23, 1998; Butler 77, Florida State 65
Last Florida State Win In NIT: March 17, 2004; Florida State 91, Wichita State 84 (2 OT)
Last Butler Win In NIT: March 14, 2006; Butler 53; Miami (Oh.) 52
Florida State vs. Butler in NIT: First Meeting
Florida State vs. Butler, Current Streak: Butler has won 1
Leonard Hamilton vs. Butler: First Meeting

Butler hit 75.0 percent from the field in the second half (12-of-16) and the Bulldogs converted on nearly 78 percent of their free throws (28-of-36) in a 77-65 victory over Florida State at the Hinkle Fieldhouse on Indianapolis, Ind., on Dec. 23, 1998. The Seminoles led just once in the games, 20-19, at the 6:31 mark of the first half. Butler led 30-27 at halftime and stretched its lead to as many as 19 points in the second half (63-44). Florida State tried to rally behind the 3-point shooting of Adrian Crawford and Ron Hale. Crawford made three and Hale two as the Seminoles cut the deficit to 10 with 2:11 to play but Florida State could not get any closer. Andy Hirschy led a balanced Butler attack with 13 points – he made nine of 10 attempts from the free throw line. The Bulldogs shot 52.4 percent from the field (22-of-42), had 18 assists and committed only 12 turnovers. Florida State was led by Hale, who posted his second consecutive double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Butler outrebounded the Seminoles, 35-25, and benefited from 17 Seminole turnovers. The Seminoles were further hurt by a five-of-11 (.454) performance from the free throw line.

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