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The 20th Greatest College Basketball In The South: Florida State Seminoles

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on October 29, 2007

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Florida State Seminoles

Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Nickname: Seminoles

Reason For Nickname: The Seminole tribes in the state of Florida.

Colors: Garnet and Gold

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference

Arena: Donald L. Tucker Center (built 1981, capacity 12,100)  

More Than Just Football And Bobby Bowden: One of the youngest basketball programs in the country, the Seminoles began playing basketball around the same time that the school, which until 1947 was an all-girl school, began to admit men. Despite the head start that was given by established programs like Kentucky and Duke, the Seminoles have had moderate success in basketball. The Seminoles have two conference regular-season championships in their history, one coming in 1955 as members of the Florida Intercollegiate Conference and 1991 as members of the Metro Conference.

Postseason Appearances: In their history, the Seminoles have been part of 10 NCAA Tournaments, their first appearance coming in 1968. Four years later, the Seminoles played in the Final Four and lost to UCLA in the title game. Currently, the Seminoles, along with Clemson, have the longest drought without an NCAA Tournament appearance at 10 years in the ACC. They’ve also played in the NIT six times and have a runner-up finish in 1997.

Coaching Legacy: Florida State’s rise to national prominence can be attributed to the coaching of Hugh Durham, who played at Florida State in the 1950’s. Durham led the ‘Noles from 1966 to 1978 and holds the highest winning percentage of any Florida State coach at .708. After Durham left, Pat Kennedy brought respectabilty back to the program and led the basketball program into the ACC in 1992. Kennedy would take the program to five NCAA Tournaments and their first conference championship in 36 years in 1991 by winning the Metro Conference.

Big Man On Campus: Florida State’s most famous player is former Boston Celtics great Dave Cowens, who played for the Seminoles from 1966 to 1970 and is one of three players to ever have their jerseys retired joining Hugh Durham and Bob Sura. Other notables include former Heisman winner and Knick Charlie Ward and former Pacers standout George McCloud who was the first lottery pick in school history.

Rivalries: Like their football counterparts, the Seminole basketball program has a heated rivalry with the Florida Gators as well. Although the Gators has taken the lead as the flagship basketball program in the state, the Seminoles still manage a pretty balanced rivalry with the Gators on the hardwood.

Did You Know?: Florida State is one of two schools in the ACC that has had a pick in the NBA Draft every year since 2004.

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