When Duke (23-4, 10-2) takes the court at the Donald Tucker Civic Center tonight at 7pm on ESPN, it will mark the biggest home game in the history of Florida State Men's Basketball. Never has there been a game the Seminoles (19-7, 10-2) have played this late in the season with the team has showed this much potential to compete deep into March. Whichever team wins this game clinches a crucial bye in the ACC tournament in two weeks.
In my mind there is more on the line in this game for the Noles.
This team has played 5 games against universities that hail from the state of North Carolina this year. The North Carolina schools are particularly known for their basketball prowess. These schools have combined for 11 National Championships. These teams take their basketball seriously.
FSU is a perfect 5 for 5 against these North Carolina schools this year, defeating UNC-Greensboro(75-60), University of North Carolina(90-57), Duke(76-73), Wake Forest(75-52), and most recently, NC State(76-62).
With these victories, in my mind, the Seminoles of Florida State deserve special recognition. They deserve the State of North Carolina Championship Belt(this would be trademarked if it were a real thing), and they're wearing it proudly.
Now that the Noles have the Belt, Duke's gunning for us. They remember how they were taken down in their own building on a Michael Snaer 3 as the backboard flashed bright red. The Blue Devils would like nothing more than to come into our building and tarnish our perfect record against North Carolina schools. They remember, and they want their belt back.
Coach Leonard Hamilton must be preaching to this team before this game that they have to protect their home court. There must be a level of focus on the fundamentals the minute this Seminoles basketball team takes the court. They can't afford to come out slow. There's very little chance at a second half comeback if they get down by too much in this one.
If Florida State wants the inside track to the number 1 seed in the ACC tournament for the first time ever, if they want to keep this unprecedented run going, they must retain the mythical State of North Carolina Championship Belt. They must beat Duke
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