Oct. 19, 2011
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (seminoles.com) –
The Florida State men’s basketball team – which is the third winningest program in the Atlantic Coast Conference in the last six years – was picked to finish in third place in the league standings for the 2011-12 season. It marks the highest the Seminoles have been picked to finish in the preseason since the 1993 season when they were also picked to finish in third place. The vote was taken at the 43rd Annual ACC Operation Basketball event at the Ritz Carlton and was voted on by 59 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
The Seminoles were selected third behind North Carolina, who was chosen as the pre-season favorite for the 19th time in the history of the event and Duke. North Carolina received 57 of the 59 first place votes cast by the media attending the event. The Tar Heels are expected to begin the season ranked No. 1 in both the Associated Press and ESPN Coaches’ Poll while the Blue Devils are expected to be a top 10 national pick. The Seminoles are certain to be a top 25 preseason national selection for the first time since the beginning of the 1993 season.
“For us to be picked to finish third in the ACC is another step forward for our program” said Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton. “But by no means are we satisfied with being picked to finish third. Our goal, as it is every year, is to finish first in the league – as a competitor that’s how each member of our program thinks. Our league is going to be competitive night in and night out and every game is going to be a battle but we know that we will be up to every challenge that comes our way.”
It marked the second time in school history — and first time since 1993 — that the Seminoles have been picked to finish in third place in the league standings. The Seminoles finished in second place in the final league standings and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament at the end of the 1993 season after beginning the season as the choice to finish in third place in the league standings.
The Seminoles were picked to finish in fifth place prior to the 2010-11 season and they finished in third place in the final standings. In each of the last four seasons under Hamilton the Seminoles have finished higher in the final standings than they were picked to finish in the preseason vote of the media: they were picked to finish ninth and finished in a tie for seventh in 2008, were picked 10th and finished in fourth in 2009, were picked to finish in seventh and finished in a tie for third in 2010 and picked to finish in fifth and finished in third place last season.
The Seminoles are one of only two teams in the league to finish in the top four of the league standings in each of the last three seasons (they are joined by only Duke) and are one of only four teams in the league who have played in each of the last three NCAA Tournaments.
Florida State returns three starters from last season’s team that finished with a 23-11 overall record and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Included in that trio of returning starters are senior Bernard James, junior Michael Snaer and sophomore Okaro White.
The Seminoles have ranked as the nation’s top defensive team in both of the last two seasons as they lead the country in defensive field goal percentage in both of those seasons. The Seminoles’ .363 defensive mark in 2011 was the best in the ACC since 1960. Florida State enters the 2012 season looking to lead the nation in defensive field goal percentage for the NCAA record tying third consecutive season.
Florida State opens its exhibition season on Oct. 31 against Indiana University of Pennsylvania – Halloween Night – with many special promotions planned for that game. The Seminoles will then play host to Georgia Southwestern University on Nov. 7 with all of the donated proceeds going to the Aubry Boyd fund to help the former Seminole who was paralyzed in 1998. Boyd can still be found behind the Seminoles’ bench at most home games at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The Seminoles open their regular season on Nov. 11 against Jacksonville in a 7 p.m. tipoff coming the night before the Florida State football team plays host to Miami. Single-game tickets are now available for that game by clicking onto Seminoles.com or by calling the Seminole Ticket Office at 1-888-FSU-NOLE.
Team Finish 1 North Carolina (57) 706 2 Duke (2) 649 3 Florida State 560 4 Virginia 463 5 Miami 455 6 Virginia Tech 411 7 Clemson 403 8 NC State 316 9 Maryland 264 10 Georgia Tech 176 11 Wake Forest 109 12 Boston College 90
Preseason All-ACC Harrison Barnes, UNC 59* John Henson, UNC 47 Tyler Zeller, UNC 46 Malcolm Grant, Miami 32 Seth Curry, Duke 20 (t) Mike Scott, Virginia 20 (t) *denote unanimous
Preseason Player of the Year Harrison Barnes, North Carolina 57 John Henson, North Carolina 2
Preseason Rookie of the Year Austin Rivers, Duke 57 James Michael McAdoo, UNC 1 Nick Faust, Maryland 1