Florida State women’s basketball Sue Semrau could not hide the ecstatic smile on her face.
Even FSU men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton, known for his lightheartedly stoic demeanor on the sidelines, flashed a grin on his own, too.
The Florida State men’s and women’s basketball teams are in store for an exciting weekend against ACC foes, with the men hoping to avenge an earlier season loss to in-state rival Miami on Saturday, and the No. 8 women’s team aspiring to beat No. 5 Notre Dame in a top-10 matchup at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Sunday.
“The brand of basketball in our conference this time of year, it doesn’t get any better. Our fans are picking up on it and our students are getting involved. … It’s exciting and motivated the players,” Hamilton said on Friday. “It’s exciting for our community, and we all have a sense of pride representing FSU and the Tallahassee community.
Added Semrau: “It’s so exciting … This is what we wait for in Tallahassee.”
The Seminoles men’s team (15-5, 4-4 ACC) just improved to .500 in conference play, with hopes of splitting the season series against the Hurricanes (15-4, 4-3), who won 80-74 in Coral Gables on Jan. 7. Both teams will face off again at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Hamilton’s team dug itself out of an early hole in the ACC, with losses at Duke, at Miami, at home against Louisville and at Boston College before their latest win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
FSU has its sights set on returning to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.
But before the Seminoles face the Hurricanes, Hamilton shared a story about his close friends asking him for tickets for the highly anticipated game.
“I love my friends, but I want them to buy season tickets,” Hamilton said with a smile.
Tickets for the men’s game may be hard to come by, but the women’s team (18-2, 6-1) has upped its efforts to draw a sellout crowd for its matchup against Notre Dame (19-2, 7-1).
The women’s game will be just the third top-10 matchup in the Tucker Center. And the Seminoles hope to win their second consecutive game against a top-10 opponent after their 50-49 victory at No. 2 Louisville on Sunday.
“It feels like March,” said Semrau, who hopes to lead her team to another deep run in the NCAA Tournament after an Elite Eight exit last season.
“That game at Louisville felt like March. This feels like March. This is the best preparation we could possibly get.”
Semrau and the FSU athletics department have rallied together to help the women’s team with its #CountMeInCoach #PacktheTuck campaign, asking fans to attend the game. Select tckets are available for $1.
FSU president John Thrasher, athletics director Stan Wilcox, softball coach Lonni Alameda, men’s leading scorer Terance Mann and other sports teams and cheerleading groups on campus have posted videos on social media urging fans to attend the women's basketball game.
“It’s been really fun to see everybody jumped on board,” Semrau said.