Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2017
For a school where football commands most of the headlines, Florida State's basketball teams have achieved a significant milestone.
Both programs are ranked in the Top 10 of the AP Top 25 polls, marking the first time both have been ranked that high at the same time. The men jumped three spots to ninth while the women dropped a spot to seventh.
That comes during what will be a big week for both teams. The men host No. 7 Duke on Tuesday before traveling to No. 11 North Carolina on Saturday. The women host No. 9 Louisville on Thursday.
Tuesday's game at the Tucker Center will be the first sellout since 2013. The Seminoles (15-1) have tied a program record with 11 straight wins and are 3-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time.
``It is pretty cool and great for both of our programs. It's a special thing,'' junior guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes said. ``It is a big achievement for us, but our goal is to keep improving.''
Going into the season, the men had not been ranked since the 2012-13 preseason poll. After starting 6-0, they entered the poll at No. 25 but dropped out for a couple weeks after their only loss. The Seminoles re-entered the poll the week of Dec. 12 and are now back in the top 10, which is their highest in-season ranking since they were sixth the week of Feb. 22, 1993.
The women have been in the poll 39 consecutive weeks, which is the fifth-longest current streak, and have been in the top 10 for most of the season. They were sixth last week, which tied the highest ranking in program history.
Men's coach Leonard Hamilton credited coach Sue Semrau's program for their consistency the past couple seasons, which has included consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16. When it came to his program though, Hamilton is trying to keep things on an even keel as the team looks to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012.
``I think our guys still feel the pain of the past couple years and know that we have to be at our best,'' Hamilton said. ``I will be disappointed if we lose perspective. If we are going to be an elite program, we are going to need to handle playing in front of different situations.''
The men have one of the youngest rosters in Division I but also one of the deepest with 11 players that average 10 minutes or more per game.
Sophomore Dwayne Bacon has established himself as one of the team's leaders. The 6-foot-4 guard is averaging 18.1 points per game, which is seventh in the ACC, and has scored in double figures in 25 consecutive games.
The women (15-2, 3-1 ACC) have a more veteran lineup with all five starters being upperclassmen. Senior point guard Leticia Romero is the leading scorer at 15 points per game.
After a two-point loss to top-ranked UConn on Nov. 14, FSU won 12 straight to tie a program record. It lost to NC State on Jan. 2 but has won the last two, including a 69-45 victory over No. 12 Duke on Sunday in front of a program-record crowd of 6,687.
``Can it turn into a great basketball town? You look at what the other sports have done and the excellence across the board and we want to be a part of that,'' Semrau said.
Even though football remains the school's identity, athletic director Stan Wilcox has made improving the Tucker Center and basketball practice facility a priority. Both teams moved into new locker rooms last weekend, which puts them on par with other ACC programs.
``It really helped us taking over the Tucker Center (in 2013) so that now it is a University facility,'' Wilcox said. ``The changes we have made have helped out both programs in recruiting and for them to be successful.''