TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – During its win at No. 2 Louisville last week, the Florida State women’s basketball team got a firsthand look at how a large and loud crowd can impact a game.
Now, the Seminoles are hoping to replicate the experience on their home floor.
Eighth-ranked FSU hosts No. 5 Notre Dame Sunday (4 p.m., ESPN2), and the Seminoles are pulling out all the stops to pack the Tucker Center.
Or, rather, #PackTheTuck, as the Twitter hashtag says.
— FSU Ticket Office (@FSUTickets) January 26, 2018
“It’d mean everything,” Semrau said Friday. “Just showing the support for Florida State, Tallahassee, what we do as a community. I’m excited about the opportunity to have this place packed.”
She’s not the only one.
FSU teamed up with Semrau for the “#CountMeInCoach” social media campaign, in which several Florida State coaches, student-athletes and administrators, as well as leaders from around the Tallahassee community, filmed themselves letting Semrau and the Seminoles know that they could count on seeing them at Sunday’s game.
FSU president John Thrasher, athletics director Stan Wilcox and men’s basketball standout Terance Mann were among those to tweet their support. Even Ricky Carmichael, the motocross legend who hails from the Tallahassee area, chimed in with a message to his 285,000 Twitter followers.
— Ricky Carmichael (@RickyCarmichael) January 26, 2018
“It’s been really fun to see everybody jump on board,” Semrau said.
Those in attendance will see the Seminoles attempt to make a little history. Not only can FSU win back-to-back games against top-five opponents for the first time in school history, but the Seminoles can also claim their first ever victory against Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish went to five consecutive Final Fours from 2011-15, and they have won the ACC tournament in every year since joining the league in 2014.
“They’re not the No. 5 team in the country for nothing,” Semrau said. “They can score like crazy. They can rebound extremely well. You’ve just go to pick your poison.”
Beating the Fighting Irish is a tall order, but the Tucker Center has been a difficult place for opposing teams to play in recent years.
The FSU women are 37-4 at home dating back to the start of the 2015-16 season, while the men went a perfect 18-0 in Tallahassee a year ago.
After feeling an unexpected spark at Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center – the basketball-crazed town had nearly 15,000 fans at the game – FSU senior Shakayla Thomas said she’s looking forward to seeing what it’s like when the Seminoles play with a big crowd behind them.
“We got so much energy from their crowd,” Thomas said. “They didn’t want us to win, so we got juiced off of that. Now we’re going to be in front of our crowd, who wants us to win, so it will probably be 10 times better.”
Added Semrau: “It was deafening up there at Louisville. Just to have that crowd for us, just after a turn of a week, would be unbelievable.”
FSU’s matchup with Notre Dame will put an exclamation point on a basketball showcase at Florida State.
Exactly 24 hours prior, the Seminoles’ men’s team will meet rival Miami in front of a sellout crowd at the Tucker Center.
FSU is 4-4 in ACC play, has won three of its last four games and is looking to atone for a loss at Miami earlier in the season.
“This is what we all are working for,” FSU men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Because the brand of basketball in our conference this time of year is outstanding. It just doesn’t get any better.
“And our fans are picking up on it. … It’s exciting and it motivates the kids.”