FSU begins four-game road trip, focusing on GT and seeking rest stops

Leonard Hamilton is trying to be flexible. He’s not thinking ahead, not past Saturday’s road game against Georgia Tech. But the path ahead won’t be easy with four straight road games.

And in Hamilton’s view, the recently rescheduled game at Pittsburgh on Feb. 6 could have been played on Jan. 9. When the FSU-Pitt game was postponed in January, FSU and the ACC announced “the postponement follows testing issues with the Florida State men’s basketball program.”

Hamilton indicated on Friday morning that FSU “met all the protocols.”

“The game at Pittsburgh never should have been cancelled,” Hamilton said. “We met all the protocols. They came up with something — it didn’t work out for whatever reason. The game should have been played on the date that it was scheduled for. There was no reason that we couldn’t do that. And so now face a situation, instead of having that (open) date, now we got to travel. But that’s what it is. And I’m not gonna complain about it, we’re just gonna get through it.”

FSU (10-2, 6-1 ACC) was set to face Georgia Tech, play at Boston College on Feb. 2 and have a week off before a Feb. 9 game at Virginia Tech. But after the Seminoles had three games postponed earlier this month it appeared likely that FSU would have a game added to the schedule and would lose what is considered a bye on the ACC basketball schedule.

It’s a tough stretch of four games in 11 days, although only the Hokies are ranked in the polls (19th in the coaches’ poll and 20th in the AP poll).

“I’m not even gonna worry about the fourth game, I’m gonna worry only about Georgia Tech,” Hamilton said. “If you start worrying about those things you can’t control, you don’t do less about what you can’t control. And they have to go through that. Let’s just see what happens. I imagine everybody goes through a period where they don’t like the circumstances they’re dealing with and during this pandemic you gotta be flexible. That’s my mindset, I’m not gonna worry about the four games, I’m just gonna take it one at a time.”

How do FSU coaches handle it? Hamilton said they will build in some more rest to help players recover from the road trips.

“Try to get as much rest as we can,” Hamilton said. “Maybe lighten up a little bit, have more walkthroughs, more film sessions, most skull sessions, more walkthroughs. But that’s the hand dealt to us. I’m not gonna complain about it. I’m just gonna go do it.”

Hamilton also said Anthony Polite, often considered FSU’s best defensive player, is out for Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury. It will be the fourth straight game Polite has missed.

The Seminoles won the matchup with GT 74-61 in Tallahassee on Dec. 15 but now face a Yellow Jackets team that has significantly improved in Hamilton’s view. The Yellow Jackets are coming off losses to Duke and Virginia, including a 64-62 loss to the Cavaliers.

“They’re not a real deep team,” Hamilton said. “But, man, they’re playing everybody like this is the last possession that they are going to play. And you watch their body language and their eyes, and they are so intensely playing hard.”

FSU is looking for its sixth straight win, which would cap off a perfect record in January.

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