The Florida State men's basketball team just wrapped up another successful season They made it to the sweet 16 for the first time since the '92-'93 season. The 'Noles were one basket away from making it to the elite 8 but lost a heartbreaker to the hottest team in the nation, VCU. It's been noted that FSU has now won atleast 20 games in five of the last six years and has the third best conference record in the ACC the last few years, trailing the last two national champions, Duke and North Carolina. That final stat is not something to take lightly.
Florida State University is widely known as a football school. When people think Seminoles, they think Bobby Bowden, Osceola & Renegade, Doak Campbell Stadium, and the two national championships. What about basketball? Not so much. With the exception of a few historic seasons in the 1970's and the early 1990's, Florida State basketball has been as important as Duke football. When the football season ended, fans in Tallahassee would maybe get excited in April for a spring football game or in June for the college baseball postseason, but otherwise, it was a long 8 months until football season began again.
However, thanks to Coach Hamilton, there is now a sport that bridges the gap between the end of football season and the start of spring football. I was excited for basketball this season, especially the NCAA tournament. I was on the edge of my seat watching our games on t.v this month, just praying for us to win. And winning we did. The Texas A&M game got us hat first tournament win since '92-'93. Then the Notre Dame game brought joy and excitement to the players, coaches, and fans of Seminole nation. This university and town was finally excited about a big time college sport other than football. It was nice reading articles online that talked about FSU BASKETBALL, rather than only football. This was not the case for most of Florida State's history. But thanks to Coach Hamilton, basketball season brings more excitement to this university than ever before.
If you don't believe me, take a look at the attendance this season. Better yet, find a replay of the Duke game this year and close your eyes and just listen to the excitement of the fans. Recall how many of your friends and alumni of FSU were actually talking about FSU basketball in the month of March. Remember the excitement of having Florida State screw up your tournament bracket because they pulled off the upset over Notre Dame. These little things are things that haven't existed in Tallahassee in a long time. Once again, thanks to Coach Hamilton.
The criticism he receives from some of the fan base is unfair because people seem to forget that the sport he coaches is basketball, not football. At this university, there is a huge difference between a successful football season and a successful basketball season; or atleast there was. Third place in the ACC for us in football is not nearly as great as 3rd place in basketball. Everyone should recognize the differences in the two programs. However, Coach Hamilton has closed the gap quite a bit between the two sports. Thanks to his success at FSU, fans are now raising their expectations for this program. There is nothing wrong with raising expectations, but Coach Hamilton shouldn't be blamed because FSU isn't winning any ACC or national championships. If it weren't for Coach Ham, the word championship, or even basketball, would not be mentioned reguarding FSU in the month of March.
Just take a second to think about what Coach Hamilton has done with this program with such little support. Basketball doesn't have the funding at FSU like football does. Basketball doesn't have the rich tradition. Kids don't grow up saying they want to play basketball at Florida State. The assistant coaches here don't match the ones at Duke or UNC. And yet, this team made it to the sweet 16 and finished third in the ACC. Not to mention, Chris Singleton missed some crucial games at the end of the season and in both post season tournaments.
So when next season bounces along, and you're sreaming at your television when the 'Noles offense only scores 55 points, don't get pissed off at Coach Hamilton without first thinking about what he has done for this program. If his success can continue, Florida State may finally be a program like Ohio State or Florida that has the potential to make it to the championship in both basketball and football. Without Coach Hamilton, I'd be writting about spring football practice rather than FSU basketball. Thank You Coach Ham for the success you've brought FSU in recent years.