Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seminoles Saddled with NIT Bid Again; despite a 20-Win Season, FSU Must Settle for a Home Game with Toledo

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seminoles Saddled with NIT Bid Again; despite a 20-Win Season, FSU Must Settle for a Home Game with Toledo

Article excerpt

Byline: BOB THOMAS

TALLAHASSEE -- Its NCAA Tournament bubble burst for the second consecutive season, the Florida State men's basketball team won't have long to recover from Sunday's disappointment.

The Seminoles (20-12), who haven't received an NCAA bid since 1998, will entertain Toledo (19-12) in the National Invitation Tournament at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

By earning a No. 2 seed in the revamped 32-team field, FSU is assured of a second-round home game against the Michigan- Utah State winner should it defeat the Rockets.

It's a consolation prize that Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton and his team had hoped to avoid.

"Obviously to say that we're disappointed would be somewhat of an understatement," Hamilton said of missing the NCAAs. "It shows that we have met some of the criteria, and we've had a much better basketball season, and we've got better as a program. .... What we'll do now is regroup, and hopefully, we'll learn from being excluded and be a better basketball team as we approach the NIT."

The Seminoles' exclusion was historic on at least one front. For the first time since the NCAA Tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1985, FSU joins Clemson as the only ACC teams to have 20-win resumes and fail to make the field.

The previous 80 ACC teams to reach that figure were included, and a league-record seven teams received NCAA berths.

NCAA men's basketball selection committee chairman Gary Walters pointed out that a record 104 teams recorded 20 wins or more -- up from the previous high of 78 -- making his 10-member committee's work even more difficult.

"By far the toughest thing was selecting the last three or four at-large teams," said Walters, adding that the difficulty of paring the last of the 34 at-large spots provoked "rigorous and robust debate."

The Seminoles almost certainly were among the last teams excluded -- along with Syracuse, Kansas State, West Virginia and Drexel -- based on their RPI and non-conference schedule rankings. …

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