March 14, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State, which has won four of its last five games including victories in the ACC and NIT Tournaments, plays host to Michigan on Thursday March 15 at 7:00 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee in the second round of the MasterCard NIT. The Seminoles are the No. 2 seed in the North region while the Wolverines are the No. 3 seed in the region. Florida State advanced to the second round of the tournament with a 77-61 victory at home over Toledo while Michigan defeated Utah State, 68-58, also at home. The winner of Thursday night’s game in Tallahassee meets the winner of Saturday’s night’s game between Mississippi State and the winner of Thursday night’s game between Bradley and Providence. That game is scheduled for March 20, 21 or 22 at the home of the highest remaining seed in the bracket. The Seminoles have one win in the NIT with three wins needed to advance to the semifinals and four to advance them to the finals at Madison Square Garden in New York. Florida State has advanced to the second round of the NIT for the second consecutive season and for the third time in the last four seasons. The Seminoles’ game against the Wolverines matches the two teams on the basketball court for only the second time in school history with the first game (an 82-73 Michigan win) coming in the championship game of the 1997 postseason NIT.
THORNTON TORCHES TOLEDO FOR 24 POINTS
All-America candidate, All-ACC First-Team selection and ACC Player of the Year runner-up Al Thornton scored 24 points to lead Florida State past Toledo, 77-61, in the first round of the 2007 MasterCard NIT on Tuesday in Tallahassee. It marked a national post-season tournament career-high for Thornton who has now led Florida State in scoring in 24 of 33 games this season. Thornton has now scored at least 20 points in 18 of Florida State’s 33 games (.545 percent) and at least 24 points in nine games as a senior. Thornton enters Thursday’s game against Michigan averaging an ACC-leading and career-high 20.1 points per game.
LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat Michigan and advance to the third round of the 2007 MasterCard NIT. It would mark the first time since 1997 and the second time in school history. The Seminoles advanced into the third round of the 1997 NIT with a victory over Michigan State in Tallahassee on their way to a championship game of the event against Michigan;
…Defeat Michigan and win its school-record 16th home game of the season. The Seminoles have a 15-3 record at home this season (.833 winning percentage) and average 13 wins a season at home in five years under Head Coach Leonard Hamilton;
…Defeat Michigan and win its 22nd game of the season. It would mark the seventh time in school history the Seminoles would have won at least 22 games. It would be the first time since the 1992-93 season that the Seminoles would have won at least 22 games in a season – they were 25-10 during the 1992-93 season in advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament;
…Defeat Michigan and gain a victory over a Big Ten team for the fourth consecutive season. The Seminoles had victories in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge during the 2002-03, 2003-04, 204-05 and 2005-06 seasons under Head Coach Leonard Hamilton.
FLORIDA STATE CONTINUES TO BE TOUGH AT HOME UNDER HAMILTON
Florida State enters Thursday’s home game against Michigan with a 15-3 record (.833 winning percentage) at home during the 2006-07 season. The Seminoles are a perfect 10-0 in non-conference home games and were 5-3 in ACC games played in the Donald L. Tucker Center. Florida State has victories over NCAA Tournament teams Florida (Dec. 3, 70-66), Virginia Tech (Jan. 17, 82-73) and Maryland (Jan. 30, 96-79) and wins over NIT teams NC State (Feb. 24, 78-52) and Toledo (March 13, 77-61) at home this season.
SEMINOLES AT HOME IN THE LAST TWO SEASONS
Florida State is 29-6 (.829 winning percentage) at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center in the last two seasons.
FLORIDA STATE AT HOME UNDER HAMILTON
Florida State has won 15 of its 18 home games of the 2006-07 season and has won 23 of its last 29 (.793 winning percentage) since defeating Virginia Tech at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Jan. 7, 2006. The Seminoles won seven of their final eight homes games of the 2005-06 season with their only loss coming to South Carolina in the second round of the NIT. Included in that string of victories were wins over five ACC teams (including No. 1 Duke on March 1, 2006), Massachusetts (Feb. 12, 2006) and Butler (March 17 in the first round of the 2006 NIT).
FLORIDA STATE AT HOME IN NON-CONFERNECE GAMES
Florida State is a perfect 10-0 (1.000 winning percentage) in non-conference home games this season and 18-1 (/947) in the last two seasons in the Donald L. Tucker Center against non-ACC teams. The Seminoles’ only non-conference loss at home in the last two seasons came against South Carolina (March 21, 69-68 in overtime) in the second round of the NIT.
SEMINOLES LEAD ACC AND RANKED FOURTH NATIONALLY IN FREE THROW PCT.
Florida State enters the second round of the NIT against Michigan ranked FIRST in the ACC and FOURTH in the NATION in free throw shooting percentage. The Seminoles are on school record pace and are looking to lead the ACC in free throw shooting for the first time ever with their .7682 mark from the line. Florida State has been ranked among the nation’s leaders throughout the season and was ranked No. 1 for two weeks during the month of February.
Seminoles Ranked Fourth Nationally Rank Team FTM FTA Pct. Notes 1. Villanova 579 741 .7813 Big East Leader (NCAA Tournament) 2. Utah State 492 631 .7797 WAC Leader (season complete) 3. California 419 540 .7759 Pac 10 Leader (season complete) 4. Florida State 474 617 .7682 ACC Leader (NIT Tournament) 5. Oakland 546 711 .7679 Mid-Continent Leader (season complete)
SEMINOLES FROM THE FREE THROW LINE RECENTLY
Florida State is shooting .789 (30-of-38) from the free throw line in its last three games. The Seminoles shot 85 percent from the free throw line against North Carolina in the ACC Tournament and shot .778 in their first round NIT victory over Toledo.
FLORIDA STATE SHOOTS WELL FROM THE FIELD AGAINST TOLEDO
Led by an 11-of-17 (.647 shooting percentage) from the field by All-America candidate, All-ACC First-Team selection and ACC Player of the Year runner-up Al Thornton, the Seminoles shot a season-high .623 (33-of-53) from the field in their first round NIT victory over Toledo. It marked the second time this season the Seminoles shot above 60 percent from the field in a single game. Florida State shot .617 from the field (37-of-60) in its victory over Maryland (Jan. 30, 96-79) at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles, who are ranked sixth in the ACC with a .476 shooting percentage from the field this season, are shooting .505 from the field in the last five games (four of which are Seminole victories).
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE F #12 Al Thornton (20.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg; 24 pts and 6 rebs vs. Toledo in 2007 NIT F #41 Uche Echefu (7.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg; 0 pts and 2 rebs vs. Butler in 2006 NIT) G #3 Isaiah Swann (9.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg; 16 pts and 3 rebs vs. South Carolina in 2006 NIT) G #23 Toney Douglas (12.6 ppg, 2.8 apg; 8 pts and 4 rebs vs. Toledo in 2007 NIT) G #25 Jason Rich (10.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg; 22 pts and 8 rebs vs. Butler in 2006 NIT) ...AND TOP RESERVES G #10 Ralph Mims (5.1 ppg, 2.2 apg; 4 pts and 6 asts vs. Butler in 2006 NIT) G #11 Jerel Allen (5.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg; 5 pts in 18 mins played vs. Toledo in 2007 NIT) F #15 Casaan Breeden (2.8 ppg, 0.9 rpg; 3 pts and ast vs. Butler in 2006 NIT) F #42 Ryan Reid (2.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg; 10 pts and 4 rebs vs. Toledo in 2007 NIT)
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR MICHIGAN F #23 Bret Petway (6.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg; 12 pts and 5 rebs vs. South Carolina in 2006 NIT) F #32 Lester Abram (9.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg; 17 pts and 5 rebs vs. Hawaii in 2004 NIT) C #44 Courtney Sims (11.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg; 18 pts and 7 rebs vs. Old Dominion in 2006 NIT) G #1 Jerret Smith (5.7 ppg, 3.4 apg; 15 pts and 4 rebs vs. Utah State in 2007 NIT) G #5 Dion Harris (13.4 ppg, 3.7 apg; 18 pts and 5 asts vs. UTEP in 2004 NIT)
FLORIDA STATE VS. MICHIGAN -- A SERIES HISTORY The Series: Michigan leads, 1-0 Last Game: March 27, 1997; Michigan 82, Florida State 73 Last Florida State Win: None Last Michigan Win: March 27, 1997; Michigan 82, Florida State 73 Last Florida State win in NIT Tournament: None Last Michigan win in NIT Tournament: March 27, 1997; Michigan 82, Florida State 73 Current Streak vs. Michigan: Michigan has won 1
FLORIDA STATE VS. MICHIGAN - THE LAST GAME March 27, 1997 Florida State 73 vs. Michigan 82 NIT Championship at Madison Square Garden, N.Y.
FLORIDA STATE VS. MICHIGAN – THE LAST GAME
Robert Traylor had 26 points and 13 rebounds and keyed a late 10-2 burst as Michigan held off Florida State for an 82-73 victory in the championship game of the National Invitational Tournament in Madison Square Garden in New York on March 27, 1997. Maceo Baston added 20 points for the Wolverines who captured their second NIT title. Traylor, who matched his season high in points, was named Most Valuable Player. James Collins scored 20 points and LaMarr Greer added 15 for Florida State which almost rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit. Florida State held an 8-6 lead 3:15 into the contest before Baston keyed a 14-4 run with six points and capped it with a dunk to give the Wolverines a 20-12 lead with 10:45 left in the first half. Michigan extended the lead to 32-19 after a 10-2 run, which ended on a three-pointer from Louis Bullock at the 4:45 mark of the first half. The Wolverines held a 41-31 lead at intermission and used an 8-0 run at the outset of the second half to bump the lead to 18 after two free throws from Baston with 17:05 remaining. Florida State drew within 68-66 on a free throw by Corey Louis with 4:46 remaining, but Traylor’s layup triggered a 10-2 burst that put the game away. Maurice Traylor had a dunk before Collins hit a jumper to make it 72-68 with 2:11 remaining. Michigan shot 43 percent (28-of-65) from the floor and pulled down 25 offensive rebounds and 43 total. The Seminoles shot 44 percent (23-of-52), but made 8-of-20 from three-point range. Florida State had only 23 total rebounds.