Throughout the summer and early fall, Florida State head basketball coach Leonard Hamilton repeated several themes regarding his 2012-13 squad.
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First, Hamilton insisted FSU had sufficient talent and experience to command the respect due a "program of significance." Four straight NCAA visits, four straight 20-win seasons, and four straight finishes in the top half of the conference were testament to that prowess, and a reason to accord this year's team the benefit of any doubts.
Prognosticators were convinced. Florida State was generally projected to finish among the ACC's top four and among the nation's top 25 in the polls.
Hamilton also cautioned his team must concentrate on getting off to a good start, something that certainly didn't happen in 2011-12.
It didn't happen in 2012-13, either.
Last season FSU won its first five games, then lost consecutive outings against Harvard, UConn, and Michigan State.
Tommy Amaker's Crimson won after the contestants slogged to a 14-14 tie at halftime. The loss to UConn came after a foul of a 3-point shooter allowed the Huskies to force overtime.
The '12 tailspin was followed by three victories, then three defeats in four games, among them a three-OT verdict against Princeton and a 20-point loss at Clemson.
The stuttering start was ultimately overcome as FSU won 25 games, a dozen in the ACC, and captured the 2012 ACC Tournament title.
This season Hamilton's group dug an even deeper early hole. They lost their opener against South Alabama, won four in a row, then lost three straight at home. In its most recent outing, Florida State lost by 25 to archrival Florida, the Gators' most decisive victory in the series since 1999.
FSU last suffered so pronounced a defeat in 2007, falling 84-58 at North Carolina.
Against Billy Donovan's undefeated SEC squad, the ACC champs trailed 35-15 at halftime. The 47 points were the fewest ever at Tallahassee's Donald L. Tucker Center by the home team, falling just shy of the 48 managed in a loss to North Carolina in December 2002.
With Andrew Wiggins, the nation's top prep prospect, in attendance, Florida State committed 22 turnovers against Florida's defensive pressure.
FSU next hosts Maine on Dec. 9.
EIGHT IS MORE THAN ENOUGH
|Year||W-L||Victorious Opponents (Margin of Defeat)|
|2013||4-4||South Alabama (5), Minnesota (9), Mercer (5), Florida (25)|
|2012||5-3||Harvard (5), Connecticut (2) OT, Michigan State (16)|
|2011||6-2||Florida (4), Ohio State (14)|
|2010||6-2||Florida (16), Ohio State (13)|
|2008||6-2||Cleveland State (3) OT, South Florida (1)|
|2007||6-2||Pittsburgh (22), Wisconsin (15)|
|2005||4-4||Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (3), Kent State (10), Texas Christian (1), Fla. Int'l (5)|