(22-13, 14-4 ASUN)
(20-13, 9-9 ACC)
3/18/2014 | the Tucker Center - Tallahassee, Florida | Attendance: 2734
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||FS|
|3P FG Percentage||.316
No. 8 FGCU (22-12)
@ No. 1 Florida State (19-13)
Tuesday, Mar. 18 | 7:00 PM
TV / Video: ESPN2 / ESPN3
(Subject to Blackout)
PxP: Mark Jones | Analyst: Darrin Horn
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The FGCU men’s basketball team (22-12) will begin its postseason journey at Florida State (19-13) in the first round of the NIT (National Invitation Tournament) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in front of a national TV audience on ESPN2. FSU is one of four No. 1 seeds in the 32-team field, while the Eagles are a No. 8 seed.
HOW TO FOLLOW
The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 with Mark Jones handling the play-by-play duties and Darrin Horn serving as the analyst. The contest will also be available on the WatchESPN app (blackout restrictions apply), and fans can access the production free of charge by following the link at the top of this release or logging on to WatchESPN.com. Fans not making the trip to Tallahassee are encouraged to attend a watch party at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Grande Oaks Shoppes in Estero.
Live in-game and behind-the-scenes updates will be available through Twitter (@FGCU_MBB) and Instagram (@FGCU_MBB), and live stats can be accessed by following the link at the top of the release.
FGCU will be sending a fan bus to Tallahassee on Tuesday. The bus will depart from in front of Alico Arena at 10 a.m. The cost is $40 for Dirty Birds members and $50 for non-members, and the price only includes transportation. For additional information, or to secure your seat (only a limited amount remain), students are asked to email Gabby Montecalvo at email@example.com. Eagles Club members and non-students are asked to email Graham Diemer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets are available through Florida State by calling 888-378-6653, logging on to www.seminoles.com or following the link at the top of this release. Tickets will be $15 for adults and $4 for youth (ages 18 & under). All seating at the Donald L. Tucker Center will be on a first-come, first-served general admission basis. Fans are encouraged to order tickets in advance and take advantage of a Print-At-Home email ticket delivery to avoid possible lines on game night given the quick turnaround.
SETTING THE STAGE
The Eagles earned the automatic berth to the NIT by virtue of its first Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Championship. Each regular-season conference champion receives an automatic trip to the NIT if it does not win its respective conference tournament. FGCU and Mercer both finished 14-4 in the A-Sun, and the league NIT tiebreaker goes to the team which advances further in the tournament without winning the title.
FSU enters NIT action coming off a loss in the ACC Tournament to eventual champion and No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed Virginia. The Seminoles, who went 9-9 in the ACC, have won four of their last six games and played 12 games against teams which were selected to play in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
TWEETABLES (5 Things To Know In 140 Characters Or Less)
• Junior Brett Comer is currently tied with Bryan Crislip ’05 for FGCU’s all-time assist record with 606 – 269 more than anyone else.
• Comer needs only eight assists to move into second place on the A-Sun’s all-time assist list; he’s chasing Mercer senior Langston Hall (622).
• FGCU held Mercer to 36.7 percent shooting in the A-Sun finale, marking the first time this year (13-1) it has lost when holding an opponent below 40 percent.
• The Eagles have not lost consecutive games since Dec. 17 and 19 at USF and Mississippi State – a stretch of 23 straight games.
• Junior Bernard Thompson broke FGCU’s all-time scoring record against Mercer and now has 1,379; senior Chase Fieler needs two points for 1,300.
LOVING THE SPOTLIGHT
Since becoming postseason eligible in 2011-12 following a four-year Division-I reclassification period, FGCU has an impressive 9-3 record in postseason games. The Eagles are 7-2 in three A-Sun tournaments, and have gone 2-1 in the NCAA Tournament. This is FGCU’s first time in the NIT.
In 2011-12, FGCU advanced to the A-Sun Championship Game, in 2012-13 it won the A-Sun Championship and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen and this year it made it back to the A-Sun Championship Game. FGCU is the only school in NCAA history to advance to its respective conference championship game in each of its first three years eligible.
This will be the first meeting between FGCU and Florida State. The Eagles’ first high-major test from the state came in December when it dropped a double-overtime decision at USF. Last year, FGCU beat eventual ACC Champion Miami in the regular season before falling to Florida in the Sweet Sixteen.
SCOUTING FLORIDA STATE
• FSU is 9-5 at home this year, including a 5-0 mark against non-conference teams.
• Florida State is making a school-record ninth straight postseason appearance. The game will be the 19th NIT contest the Seminoles have played in their history. Last year, Louisiana Tech handed FSU a 71-66 loss at home in the opening round.
• FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton, who has a record of 216-156 in 12 seasons at FSU and a 416-366 overall mark in 26 seasons, is the school’s winningest coach in ACC play and in ACC Tournament action.
• The Seminoles have three players who average double digits in points in Aaron Thomas (14.1), Ian Miller (13.7) and Okaro White (13.2). Miller is questionable with an apparent toe injury, according to Hamilton. White has 1,320 total career points, which is good for 19th all-time at FSU.
• FSU is the third-winningest program in the ACC in the last nine years with 194 total victories (first is Duke with 255 and second is UNC with 250). The Seminoles have averaged 21.8 wins per season over the past nine years.
NIT SPRINGBOARD SUCCESS
FGCU, which became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to advance to the Sweet Sixteen last year, will be looking to use the NIT to finish the 2013-14 campaign strong and as a springboard into the 2014-15 season. The Eagles are under the direction of first-year coach Joe Dooley and lose just one senior (Fieler) to graduation while welcoming four transfers who are sitting out, one redshirt freshman and three newcomers.
Past examples of carrying over NIT success:
NIT: West Virginia – 2007 Champion | THEN: 2008 Sweet Sixteen
NIT: Ohio State – 2008 Champion | THEN: 2010 Sweet Sixteen
NIT: North Carolina – 2010 Runner-Up | THEN: 2011 & 2012 Elite 8
NIT: Wichita State – 2011 Champion | THEN: 2013 Final Four
FIELD GOAL BATTLES
Florida State, which has shot 50 percent or better in 13 of its games this season, leads the ACC in field-goal percentage at 46.5. FGCU finished second in the A-Sun in field-goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to connect at a 46.9-percent clip on the year, but just 40.5 during league action.
In their last eight postseason games – including the A-Sun Championship and NCAA Tournament – the Eagles have held their opponents below 40 percent from the field in seven of those outings.
Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) is the only player in FGCU history with at least 1,000 career points and 600 career rebounds, and he has 700 rebounds. Fieler needs two points to reach 1,300 points, and his 712 career rebounds are 123 more than any other player (Sherwood Brown, 589).
• Fieler averaged 17.3 points per game in the A-Sun Championship, up from his 14.1 average on the year.
• Thompson averages 16.1 points per game on the road, up from his 14.7 average at home.
• Jamail Jones only averages 26.7 minutes per game at home but is tied for the team lead in minutes on the road at 32.3 per game.
• Fieler averaged 9.7 rebounds per game in the A-Sun Championship, up more than two rebounds from his 7.6 average in the regular season.
• Comer shoots 44 percent from the 3-point line in FGCU’s 22 games won, but only 25 percent in its 12 losses.
With a victory, FGCU will travel (barring arena schedule conflicts) to the winner of either No. 4 Georgetown (17-14) or No. 5 West Virginia (17-15). Those two teams also play Tuesday night at 7 but on ESPN. The date and time for that matchup is unknown at this juncture, but could take place anywhere from Mar. 20-24.