Duke at Florida State 2/23/12

February 23, 2012

7:00 ET ESPN

At some point this week, it became clear to me that tonight’s game is the basketball equivalent of the football game against Oklahoma last September: A game highly anticipated by the Seminole faithful that everyone wishes they could attend.  While the Oklahoma days in front game had a “happy times are here again” feel due to their being many such big games in the past, tonight’s game is a rarity.  While the Duke and UNC games are well attended and serve to FSU basketball what the football team serves to everyone else in the ACC, there has rarely been  little more than pride on the line.  The times that FSU have hosted a top 15 team and been on equal ground are quite few in number (gleaned from the game notes on seminoles.com) :

  • January 10,1998  – Duke 75 FSU 63 – I was reminded of this game when I reading the news that student tickets for tonight’s game were distributed in 15 minutes . Once upon a time, student tickets for the basketball games were issued at the door; they could not be procured in advance. A near disaster before the opening of doors for this game changed that.  The 13th ranked Seminoles lost to the 2nd ranked Blue Devils and I lost my voice for the better part of a week.
  • February 27, 1993  – UNC 86 FSU 76 –  UNC was #3 and FSU was #6.  Looking back on the 1992-1993 season, one notes that FSU would have finished in a tie with UNC for the regular season title had they won.  Looking over the box scores for this game and the ones preceding it, I note the absence of Charlie Ward.  I assume he was a known “injured / will not play” before the game and that took some luster off the anticipation.
  • February 16, 1989 – Louisville 78 FSU 77 – (OT) The one game in which FSU (#7) was higher ranked than their opponent (#10).  FSU did finish the 1988-1989 season as regular season champions of the Metro conference, having beaten Louisville on the road earlier in the season.  They lost to the Cardinals in the conference tournament final, however.
  • February 17, 1978 – FSU 81 Lousivlle 70 – This game between the 14th ranked Seminoles and 9th ranked Cardinals was played in Tully Gym.

A win tonight would put the Seminoles atop the ACC standings and represent their third straight victory against the Blue Devils.  Here’s hoping for some of that 1978 magic.


POSTSCRIPT: Alas, it was a bit more like 1998 than 1978: Duke 74 Florida State 66. Although, back then, anytime FSU got behind more than 6 points the game felt hopelessly lost; tonight the Seminoles fell behind by 13 with two minutes to go in the first half but whittled the deficit down to seven at halftime and later closed the game to three points with the ball in hand.


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