Jan. 23, 2013
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Managing Editor
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- With 14 contests still to be played in this new-look 18-game Atlantic Coast Conference schedule, it's not officially do-or-die time for the Florida State men's basketball team. But on the heels of back-to-back losses, that time is growing near.
FSU (10-7, 2-2 ACC) hosts Clemson (10-7, 2-3) Thursday night at 8 p.m. and emerging from that ballgame at 3-2 in what has turned out to be a bunched-up conference through the first month of ACC games of is a lot different than dropping to 2-3 in said league.
After the Tigers, the 'Noles then hit the road for a game at first-place Miami before a two-game home stand against Maryland and Duke. Long story short: it's not going to get much easier moving forward.
"To get where we want to go we have to make a run," junior guard Ian Miller said. "We've got to beat some real good teams but I think we are very capable of doing it. We've just got to pay attention to detail and do the little things and keep working hard and we'll be fine. If we don't do those things it's going to get pretty ugly."
Other than the Hurricanes --the lone undefeated team in the ACC at 4-0 and hosts of a big game Wednesday night against one-loss Duke -- the conference features six teams -- including the Seminoles -- that have two league victories thus far. While the 'Canes are 4-0, the Blue Devils are 3-1 and NC State is 4-2, Boston College (1-3) and Georgia Tech (0-4) are the only other two teams that aren't currently in the two-win congestion.
FSU coach Leonard Hamilton likes to call one-point ballgames "typical ACC blowouts" and in the treacherous trek that is the ACC schedule from start to finish, this log-jam of teams is just as common.
"When you go back and look at the last number of years, five, six, seven, eight of them," Hamilton said. ", regardless of how the conference started off, everyone always ends up getting bunched into some type of close proximity with one another. So this year is no different. I think it'll start sorting itself out in maybe about three more weeks.
"Right now we are all kind of jockeying for position. It will be interesting to see who comes out of the pack."
Florida State will be forced to fight for position in the standings during Thursday's tilt with the Tigers without the services of one of the players that helped secure the 'Noles' ACC-opening 71-66 win at Clemson earlier this month.
Hamilton confirmed Tuesday afternoon that redshirt junior forward Terrance Shannon will undergo second tests on his neck after he frighteningly sprained it in the loss at Virginia this past weekend. After being wheeled off the court on a backboard at John Paul Jones Arena, Shannon had to stay overnight in Charlottesville, Va. area hospital before flying back to Tallahassee.
Shannon's injury is not expected to affect him long-term. As for the short-term, Hamilton said that an official announcement on the energetic big man's status for the remainder of the season will be made after the results of the additional tests are determined.
"You don't replace his energy," Hamilton said. "You would like to, but he has exceptional energy and courage and competitive spirit. He plays with such passion that he inspires other players. So we're definitely going to miss that part of what he brings to our team."
Thursday's contest falls on "Military Night" at the Donald L. Tucker Center. For more information on the scheduled events for this special evening, check out the Doak Insider Blog.