Florida State Men’s Basketball – Midget in conference and on campus

March 25, 2011

Tonight’s game against Virginia Commonwealth University marks the Florida State’s mens basketball team’s first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 1993.  While that’s a (relatively) long time ago in a number of ways, one way of looking at it that particularly struck me was the realization that Virginia Commonwealth (a member of the Colonial Athletic Conference) belonged to the long  defunct Metro Conference *.

The post-season highlights for FSU hoops between now and then are slight. Appeared in the 1997 championship and lost to a Michigan team that later forfeited their season.  Won 1st round game in 1998 NCAA tournament.  Lost first round games in 2009 and 2010 tournaments.

Those highlights are small in comparision accomplishments of the other teams in the ACC.  This is where the pain of being a football school in a conference where basketball is king is apparent. (I went to high school at the northern edge of the heart of ACC country and had many classmates skip school for the 1st round of the conference tournament. That doesn’t happen in Florida).   From 1993 to this year, ACC teams made a total of 37 appearances in the Sweet 16, with every member of the conference except for Florida State and Virginia Tech doing so (Miami went back when it was a Big East member).  Five of those appearances resulted in national championships.  FSU basketball was a runt among big dogs.

Besides being overlooked and out-achieved in conference, the basketball team has been the unloved under-performer relative to other sports at FSU.

1993, of course marked the football team’s first national championship.  That fell in the middle of the 14 year run of consecutive top five finishes.  Between now and then made four national championship games, winning one.  While the glory years are somewhat past, FSU football has continued its streak of bowl game appearances (an accomplishment that’s been increasingly devalued since 1993) and it is what the average person thinks of when Seminole sports are on their mind.

Baseball is the gold standard when it comes to the post-season. FSU has been in the tournament every year since 1978.  Since 1993, they have been to seven College World Series (final eight) and appeared played in one national championship game. Only three times have they failed to advance from the opening round. 

The ladies have had their share of post-season success as well.

The women’s basketball team has been in the tournament seven times since 1993, winning their first round game every time. An upset against Stanford on the road in 2007 took them to the Sweet 16. In 2010 the team advanced to the Elite Eight.

Women’s soccer didn’t even exist at FSU in 1993. The team first played in 1995. They have made the tournment every year since 2000 and had a stretch of six consecutive appearences in the Elite Eight including one national championship game.

It is from this position of being a midget among giants both in conference and on campus that the FSU men march from to face VCU.  Fight, fight, fight to victory.

*FSU was a member of the Metro Conference, but was one of three schools that left in 1991. Virginia Commonwealth was one of the schools that replaced them.

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