TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Come Monday, No. 23 Florida State — losers of two straight — likely will find themselves on the outside looking in of The Associated Press Top 25 poll.
But the Seminoles will get one final shot to impress voters before they fill out their ballots this weekend.
Florida State (12-4 overall, 1-3 ACC) hosts Syracuse (12-5, 1-3) on Saturday in a duel of ACC cellar dwellers. Florida State and Syracuse are tied for second-to-last in the standings after great starts to their nonconference schedules that has not translated into conference success.
Syracuse raced out to an 11-2 start before dropping three of its first four games in ACC play, while Florida State was 11-1 before opening its ACC slate with the same results.
The Seminoles’ latest disappointment came Wednesday night when they saw their remarkable 28-game home win streak snapped — the third-longest in the nation at the time — by Louisville. The Cardinals rallied from 13 points down at halftime to stun Florida State 73-69 at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Before that loss, the Seminoles hadn’t dropped a game on their home floor since losing to Georgia Tech 86-80 on Feb. 17, 2016.
Now, both teams face a must-win Saturday to avoid falling further behind the rest of the ACC.
“Every game in the ACC is big, but this one (Saturday against Syracuse), we’ve got to get it,” Florida State guard and leading scorer Terance Mann (15.1 points per game) told Seminoles.com following Wednesday’s loss.
Mann certainly did his part Wednesday, scoring a game-high 25 points to match his career high. But it wasn’t enough as the Seminoles went ice-cold in the second half against the Cardinals. They were 0-for-8 from 3-point range after halftime before guard Braian Angola drilled two 3-pointers in the final minute to keep the Seminoles’ hopes alive.
“It was an unfortunate loss,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton told the Tallahassee…