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January 10, 2012
Florida State looking to avoid 0-2 start in ACC play
Before Florida State's basketball team even gets a chance to host a conference game, the situation has turned rather precarious.
On the heels of a 20-point loss to Clemson on Saturday and with a road game at Virginia Tech tonight (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU), Florida State is now in danger of falling to 0-2 in the ACC with losses against teams expected to finish well below the Seminoles in the league this season.
Considered a shoo-in top three team in the ACC following a run to the Sweet 16 a season ago, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton is looking to right a team that has lost three of its last four and six of its last 10.
"We've had an opportunity for enough wake-up calls this year. We should be wide awake," Hamilton said.
To make matters worse, with no signature out of conference wins in tow, Florida State (9-6, 0-1 ACC), has dates with conference leaders North Carolina (Jan. 14) and at Duke (Jan. 21) on deck in the next 10 days.
Whether its struggles on the defensive end, three-point misfiring or a lack of hustle - all of which were evident at Clemson on Saturday - sorting out the issues quickly could be paramount for a team that can ill afford an 0-2 start in league play.
"It's definitely more urgent for us, every game from here on out is urgent," point guard Jeff Peterson said. "We're not where we want to be or where we need to be right now so we're aware of that, and in order for us to get where we want to be, we've got to be urgent. We can't be lackadaisical or take any plays off. We're aware of that."
Despite returning eight players who played at least 10 minutes a game last season, Hamilton says that positional shuffling and missing players have led to unfamiliarity, even on his senior-laden roster.
"We're not as experienced as our age will say that we are," Hamilton said. Florida State is playing without forward Terrance Shannon (shoulder) and has only had guard Ian Miller in the fold for four games to date. Also, Hamilton cited the adjusted roles of his post players throughout the year.
"We're not quite as in sync as you would think that a team with seniors would be," Hamilton said.
With league play in swing and another hungry opponent - Virginia Tech fell at lowly Wake Forest in its ACC opener - Florida State will have to find itself quickly.
"It is frustrating that we are in the position that we are in," Peterson said. "But it definitely can be corrected and we know we'll get it corrected. It starts right now."
Hamilton is confident that his team can turn it around.
"We've always been able to find ways to overcome whatever," Hamilton said. "We're in a system that regardless of what we don't have, who's here, who isn't here, we've been able to go back to the drawing board and tweak things, refocus and come out alright. I think we're more than capable of doing that with this team."