February 23rd, 2006
by Charles R. Barrineau
Perhaps the Sunshine State's hottest team visits Blacksburg Saturday evening. The Florida State University Seminoles, 17-7 (7-6), will take on the slumping Hokies, 13-13 (3-10), in men's basketball.
"It feels a lot better that you've beat a team that's on a roll, than a team that's down," said junior guard Jamon Gordon who averages 11.1 points per game. "It can be a good win."
The 'Noles are as hot as Tallahassee in July, winners of four out of their last five games, with three wins coming in Atlantic Coast Conference contests. This game is crucial for FSU's NCAA tournament hopes, as it is currently fighting for fifth place and an above-.500 ACC record. On the other hand, Tech is more like Blacksburg in March, somwhat cold with the possibility of heating up.
"It's the next game," said Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg. "This time of the year hot, not hot, winning streak, losing streak--it makes no difference. These are big games."
Greenberg criticized his team's effort Wednesday night and says the team will try to put forth a better effort Saturday.
"We're just going to continue to practice," Greenberg said. "There's no magic formula; there's no Michael Jordan's magic potion."
The Hokie backcourt will look to slow its FSU counterparts after getting lit up by the University of Miami's Guillermo Diaz Wednesday for 29 points. Earlier this year, Tech lost to FSU 74-68 in Tallahassee but held its trio of starting guards to just 19 points.
"We'll probably just do the same thing (as the last FSU game)," Gordon said. "(We'll) make them throw the ball into the post."
However, the Seminole backcourt of Todd Galloway, Jason Rich, and Isiah Swann isn't all there is to worry about; they have a potent frontcourt as well.
"Alexander Johnson is a good player," Greenberg said of the man who averages 12.3 points and seven rebounds per game. "He's a big, physical guy that can score around the basket. That's who he is; you've just got to defend him early."
Conference rematches do have their advantages though.
"It's easier, you have a baseline of how they're going to guard your stuff and what's important to them and what they're trying to accomplish," Greenberg said. "Although Florida State is a much different team right now, because they've improved offensively."
This is a bigger game for Gordon, who has ties to Florida State, a school whose football team he follows being that he is from Jacksonville, Fla.
"Football and basketball are kind of different," Gordon said. "I stay close to Tallahassee so it's a big game. I know all the coaches (and) I know a couple players on the team. It's kind of a big game."
The final game of Tech's sunshine swing will tip off at 7 p.m. inside Cassell Coliseum and is not televised.