The Washington Post
| || || |
| ||Point guard Todd Galloway has shown a knack for delivering in clutch situations with several big shots on his resumé. (AP) |
Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page G10
How They Could Win It All
The Seminoles proved they are capable of pulling an upset when they beat Wake Forest, 91-83 in overtime, in Tallahassee on Jan. 18. That victory was Florida State's sixth over a nationally ranked opponent in Coach Leonard Hamilton's three seasons.
Need a reason to be optimistic about a team that went oh-for-February? Of the Seminoles' eight losses that month, five were by 10 points or less, and two were by just a point. For the season, FSU lost four games by one point; two others by two points and two by three.
Sophomore Von Wafer has emerged as one of the league's better players, averaging nearly 13 points per game. Wafer, who finished second to LeBron James in the slam dunk contest in the 2003 McDonald's All-American game, runs the floor well and can shoot three-pointers, too. Hamilton, former coach of the Washington Wizards, uses a deep bench -- 10 players average 15 minutes or more. Reserves have accounted for nearly half of the team's scoring, and they totaled 61 points in a 90-88 overtime loss to Maryland on Dec. 19.
Though no Seminole averages five rebounds a game, the team does have two 6-foot-10 players in Alexander Johnson and Diego Romero.
How They Could Lose It All
The Seminoles have never won more than one game in the ACC tournament since joining the conference in 1992. After losing 12 of 16 conference games this season, there's little reason to believe that will change.
Florida State was considered a dark horse to advance to the NCAA tournament this season, but the Seminoles never figured out how to win the close games. They narrowly missed getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament last season, but took several steps back this year.
Coach Leonard Hamilton returned an experienced lineup, led by seniors Anthony Richardson and Adam Waleskowski, but the Seminoles struggled to replace Tim Pickett's scoring (he averaged 16.5 points per game during the 2003-04 season) and playmaking.
Hamilton was hoping for big things from junior college transfers Diego Romero and Antonio Griffin, but neither has provided much of a spark. Romero is averaging 3.9 points and 2.6 rebounds; Griffin has played in only eight games. Florida State doesn't rebound well, doesn't block shots, doesn't create turnovers and turns over the ball too much. With that as a recipe, the Seminoles probably won't be around for Friday, let alone Sunday.
Junior Todd Galloway has given the Seminoles a steady performance at point guard in each of the past three seasons. The former Notre Dame Academy player became the first freshman to lead Florida State in assists during the 2002-03 season.
Last season, he proved capable of delivering in clutch situations. Against North Carolina, he drilled a three-pointer with eight seconds left to tie the score, culminating the Seminoles' rally from a 24-point deficit; they went on to win in overtime, 90-81. Later, in a 75-70 upset of No. 10 Wake Forest, Galloway made two foul shots with 48 seconds left.
This season against the Demon Deacons, Galloway had a career-high 21 points and eight rebounds, scoring nine consecutive points during just more than two minutes of overtime in a 91-83 upset on Jan. 18.
He is the Seminoles' second-best three-point threat behind Von Wafer, and is a capable defender. Galloway again leads Florida State in assists with just more than three per game, but he is prone to turnovers.
One Shining ACC Moment
The Seminoles have had very modest success in the ACC tournament since joining the conference in 1992. Florida State is 5-13 in the event, beating Clemson three times.
So the Seminoles' greatest moment in the ACC tournament might well be their first, when Charlie Ward and Doug Edwards led them to a 93-80 victory over North Carolina State in the 1992 tournament at Charlotte Coliseum.
Ward, who won the 1993 Heisman Trophy as Florida State's quarterback, had 6 steals, 8 assists and 13 points. Edwards scored 21 points and Rodney Dobard had 20, and in the second half the Seminoles shot 70 percent and scored 50 points. Six Seminoles scored in double figures, tying a tournament record.
Florida State outscored the Wolfpack 41-16 over a stretch that spanned both halves. Many of the Seminoles' points came in transition off their season-high 16 steals.
"That's our nickel defense," FSU coach Pat Kennedy joked to the Orlando Sentinel, playing off Ward's role as a football player.
Florida State lost to North Carolina, 80-76, in the second round, but beat Montana and Georgetown before losing to Indiana in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
The Seminoles waited seven years to win another game in the ACC tournament, beating Clemson, 87-85 in overtime, in the first round in Charlotte in 1999. Florida State blew a 16-point lead in the second half of that game, and nearly lost after leading 84-76 with 54 seconds left in overtime, but Clemson's Terrell McIntyre missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
ACC Tournament Section
• After 15 years, the Nation's Capital plays host to country's premier conference tournament.
• John Feinstein: In a glut of tournaments, this one still matters.
• Tournament info and records
© 2005 The Washington Post Company