March 4, 2004 - by
Florida State faces Georgia Tech Saturday At 4:30

March 4, 2004

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Florida State, which has won four games against nationally ranked opponents and who will play an ACC high-tying 12 teams ranked in the top-25 at the time of the game, closes out its regular season as it travels to play No. 19/20 Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The Seminoles enter Saturday’s game looking to win both regular season games against the Yellow Jackets for the first time since 2000 and for the fifth time since joining the ACC to begin the 1991-92 season. The Seminoles four victories over ranked teams are second to only Duke (five victories over ranked teams) for wins over ranked teams among ACC teams this season. The Seminoles have defeated four ranked ACC three times in a single season (1992, 1993 and 2004) but have never defeated five ranked ACC teams in a single season. The Seminoles played in the NCAA Tournament in both the 1992 and 1993 seasons. Following Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech the Seminoles will play in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

Senior All-America and ACC Player of the Year candidate Tim Pickett, who enters Saturday’s game as the sixth leading scorer in the conference (16.5 ppg), has been at his best against the 11 ranked teams on the Seminoles’ schedule so far this season. Pickett is averaging 20.5 points against the 11 ranked teams the Seminoles have played so far this season. Included in Pickett’s outstanding arsenal of games against ranked teams was his career-high of 33 points against then No. 10/7 Georgia Tech to lead the Seminoles past the Yellow Jackets, 81-65, Feb, 3 in Tallahassee. His 33 points against Georgia Tech is the second highest single-game point total by an ACC player this season. He has scored 47.8 percent of his points this season (226 of 478) against nationally ranked teams. Pickett has been named to the District VI All-America First Team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches this season. He earned All-ACC Second Team honors as a junior in 2003 and has been one of the top players in the ACC during the last two seasons.

…Defeat a nationally ranked team for the fifth time this season. The Seminoles have defeated then No. 24/25 Maryland (Dec. 28, 79-75), then No. 7/11 North Carolina (Jan. 22, 90-81 in OT), then No. 10/7 Wake Forest (Jan. 25, 75-70) and then No. 15/16 Georgia Tech (Feb. 3, 81-65). The last time Florida State beat at least five ranked teams in one season was in 1993 when it defeated seven ranked teams;
…Defeat a ranked Georgia Tech team for the second time this season. The Seminoles defeated the No. 10/7 ranked Yellow Jackets (Feb. 3, 81-65) during the first meeting between the two teams in Tallahassee earlier this season. Florida State has defeated three ranked Georgia Tech teams in three different season but has never defeated two ranked Georgia Tech teams in the same season;
…Win its seventh ACC game of the season. It would mark the highest number of conference wins since the Seminoles won 12 league games and finished in second place in the ACC standings during the 1992-93 season;
……Win its first ACC road game since March 3, 2001, when the Seminoles won at Clemson (75-63). The Seminoles enter Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech looking to break a 23-game road losing streak against ACC teams.

Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton, who graduated 28 of his 31 seniors players during his ten-year career at the University of Miami, has continued that tradition during his tenure at Florida State. Included in a group of 57 Seminole student athletes who are scheduled to graduate this spring are six seniors on Hamilton’s men’s basketball team this season. Seniors Nate Johnson, Michael Joiner, Mike Mathews and Tim Pickett along with walk-on Orenn Fells will all graduate this spring. Mathews previously earned his degree (August of 2003) and has been taking post-graduate classes while playing for the Seminoles this season. Joiner was on track to graduate last fall but saved his one final required class – Politics in Europe – for this semester and will walk with his class during graduation ceremonies here in the Civic Center in late April. Guard Andrew Wilson, who has been in school for four years, and endured two medical redshirt years, will earn his undergraduate degree in sport management and begin taking post graduate classes this summer. Former point guard Ryan Lowery will also earn his undergraduate degree this spring. The men’s basketball team will be a perfect four-of-four in scholarship seniors earning their degrees under Hamilton.

…Florida State is ranked 26th in the latest Sagarin Computer Ranking and 45th in the most recent RPI report ranking;
…The Seminoles play in the ACC – the nation’s topped ranked conference in the RPI and Sagarin rankings. Each of the nine teams (16 Seminole opponents) is ranked within the nation’s top 76 teams in the RPI report. Only the ACC has each of its teams ranked among the top 76 in the RPI ranking;
…The RPI ranking lists the Seminoles’ schedule as the nation’s 34th toughest;
…Florida State will play its ACC-high tying 12th ranked opponent when it faces Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon. The Seminoles have defeated four ranked teams this season. Only Maryland, which has defeated three ranked teams, has played as many ranked teams this season among the nine ACC school;
…Only Duke (five) and North Carolina (five) have more victories over ranked teams than the Seminoles (four) among ACC teams;
…Only Florida State (two), Duke (two), Georgia tech (two) and Wake Forest (two) have victories over multiple top-10 ranked teams this season.
…Florida State and Georgia Tech are the only two teams in the ACC who have defeated teams from the Big East, Big Ten and the SEC. The Seminoles defeated Northwestern (Dec. 1, 71-53), Ole Miss (Dec. 3, 66-60) and Miami (Dec. 14, 67-58) while Georgia Tech has victories over Connecticut (Nov. 26, 77-61), Ohio State (Dec. 3, 73-53) and Tennessee (Feb. 7, 77-62);
…Florida State is the only ACC team to win on the home floor of a Big East opponent. The Seminoles won at Miami (Dec. 14, 67-58) of the Big East which is ranked as the nation’s third best conference by both the Sagarin and RPI rankings;
…The Seminoles defeated Ole Miss (Dec. 3, 66-60) of the SEC which is ranked as the nation’s second best conference by both the Sagarin and RPI rankings. The Seminoles won at Miami (Dec. 14, 67-58) of the Big East which is ranked as the nation’s third best conference by both the Sagarin and RPI rankings;
…In eight of Florida State’s losses, the Seminoles either led or were within four points of taking the lead in the last three minutes of the game. Against Pittsburgh, the Seminoles were within three with 17 seconds remaining in the game, before falling on the Panthers’ home court. The Panthers win came in the middle of a 40-game home winning streak and the Panthers won each of those 40 games by an average of 18.5 points per game. The Seminoles were within two points of tying Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium with 40 seconds remaining. The Blue Devils are currently riding a 41-game winning streak on their home court.

Florida State enters Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech with an 18-11 record – it has four more wins and five fewer losses this season than it did in 29 games last season. It marks the second consecutive season Leonard Hamilton has improved the Seminoles’ win total in his first two seasons as head coach. The Seminoles won 14 games in Hamilton’s first season after winning 12 the year before his arrival (+two wins) and have 18 wins this season (+four wins) marking an overall improvement of six wins since his arrival prior to the beginning of the 2002-03 season.

Florida State has won 897 games during the 57-year history of the program and needs only three victories to reach the 900 plateau. The Seminoles average 15.7 wins each season and won a program record 27 games during the 1972-73 season when they played UCLA in the championship game of the NCAA Tournament. Florida State is one of five current ACC teams which has played in a national championship game during the illustrious history of the program.

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