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FSU in bull’s eye, in position to grab ACC’s regular season title

There aren’t many days remaining in February. And with four games to left, the Florida State men’s basketball team is in the driver’s seat for a second straight ACC regular-season title.

“I’m not really sure we’re gonna change anything that we’ve been doing,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We have four games left, we’ve always used one-game-at-a-time approach. We try to prepare ourselves for each practice, each possession in practice. Obviously, it’s a little different in the fact that we are putting even more of a bull’s eye on your shirt now that you have that level of recognition.”

FSU (13-3, 9-2 ACC) moved atop the ACC standings by virtue of its road win over Pittsburgh on Saturday as well as Duke’s victory over Virginia (15-5, 11-3). With an unbalanced schedule due to the pandemic, the ACC’s regular-season champion and top seed for the conference tournament will be determined by wining percentage.

The Seminoles will be on the road more often: at Miami, at North Carolina, vs. BC in Tallahassee and at Notre Dame to finish the regular season. Virginia has just three remaining games: home vs. NC State and Miami before finishing with a road trip to Louisville.

First up for FSU is a second matchup with injury-depleted Miami on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. (ACC Network). The Seminoles rolled in the first meeting, 81-59 on Jan. 27. Hamilton said the focus is on FSU’s practice, and getting back in rhythm following the second COVID break, as opposed to a scouting report for a familiar opponent.

“It’s not as much about who we are playing at this stage of the year,” Hamilton said. “It’s about what we do. I don’t think any of us is going to change very much. Miami obviously has had some injuries. But in terms of their system, they are gonna be pretty much like they have been all year in terms of how they play, what we can expect from them. We have to come as close as we can to being who we are — the best version of who we are. And that’s our game plan.”

Rankings

The Seminoles are now in the top 10 of the coaches’ poll, moving up seven spots to No. 9.

FSU has moved all the way up to No. 11 in the AP poll, which was released on Monday afternoon. It has been quite the rise for the Seminoles — from receiving votes in week 9 to now 11th in week 14 of the AP’s top 25. The Seminoles are the highest ranked ACC team, ahead of No. 15 Virginia and No. 16 Virginia Tech.

Bracketology

CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm has FSU as a No. 3 seed in his Monday bracket. ESPN.com’s last bracket was updated on Friday and had FSU as a No. 4 seed.