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Hamilton, Noles remain connected on Zoom and focus on return to court

The Florida State men’s basketball team is unfortunately familiar with a midseason pause. FSU lost three games in January and now has lost three games in February.

Coach Leonard Hamilton said on Monday’s call with ACC coaches that the staff has been active in communicating with players via Zoom and other technology.

“We’ve tried to be engaged as the rules allow us to, communicating with our guys and going over things and evaluating all of our games up to this point,” Hamilton said. “Looking at the pluses and minuses and things that maybe we thought we could have done better.”

FSU (10-3, 6-2 ACC) could return to the court to practice as soon as Wednesday. Next up for FSU is a game against Wake Forest (5-8, 2-8) on Saturday at noon. The Seminoles will then have a quick turnaround for a Monday night game against Virginia at 7 p.m.

Hamilton said guard Anthony Polite, who missed four games due to a shoulder injury, is feeling good but has not been cleared by doctors yet.

“I try to just let nature take its course,” Hamilton said. “He hasn’t had any contact. He hasn’t been active. We’ll just have to wait and see when we start practice where he is. … Hopefully he’ll be back 100 percent for our next set of games.”

The Seminoles were dialed in after their first COVID break, rattling off five impressive wins. Hamilton said he has tried to keep the coaching and message simple.

“We try to be consistent with our approach in coaching their minds as much as we do their bodies,” Hamilton said. “It’s all mental preparation as you deal with any type of unfortunate deviation from what the norm really is. Hopefully we’ll be mature enough to be able to handle it. I don’t see any reason why not.”

Rankings

FSU is ranked 17th in the latest AP poll, which was released on Monday. Virginia is the highest ranked ACC school at No. 9, followed by FSU and Virginia Tech (No. 18). Notably missing? UNC and Clemson are receiving votes, but Duke is well out of the mix. The full rankings can be viewed here.

Bracketology

It’s quite early with more than a month to go in the regular season, as well as ACC Tournament, but FSU is viewed as a No. 5 seed in Jerry Palm’s bracketology for CBSSports.com. FSU and Virginia are both No. 5 seeds, just behind No. 4 seed Virginia Tech (the highest among the ACC schools). He has the Seminoles opening vs. No. 12 UC Santa Barbara in a bracket with No. 1 seed Villanova.