Florida State men’s hoops has been overshadowed for years by its football team and “that team to the east” having such a great basketball program. However, this is FSU’s year and they proved it with a 88-72 win over Duke on Tuesday night. Coach Leonard Hamilton has stayed the course over his 15 seasons at the helm in Tallahassee and it has paid off with this win and an unblemished conference record. Only Notre Dame can claim the same thing, but the Fighting Irish also have three more losses out of conference.
The Seminoles are in the middle of one of the toughest six-game stretches in the country. It started with the first game of ACC play at home against Wake Forest and these are the next five games: at Virginia (a win), vs Virginia Tech (a win), vs Duke (a win), at UNC (Saturday), vs Notre Dame (Jan. 18) and vs Louisville (Jan. 21). Those last five teams are all ranked with Virginia ranked 12 at the time of the game, VT ranked 21, Duke ranked 7, UNC 11, Notre Dame 20 and Louisville is ranked 14.
Despite all that, FSU still came out on top of Duke (who was also missing big man Amile Jefferson) to go 4-0 in conference play for the first time ever since joining the ACC in 1991. The win also matches the school’s best 17-game start since the 1988-89 season. The team is also in the top ten for the first time since February of 1993 and the future is only looking brighter from here on out if it can survive this brutal stretch of schedule before heading into slightly easier games against a rebuilding Georgia Tech, a terrible Syracuse team and then a solid Miami squad.