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January 25, 2012
Focus was key in a week for Florida State that featured a definitive win over Maryland sandwiched between high-profile wins against North Carolina and Duke. Going forward, the Seminoles are putting the three wins behind them, but plan on continuing the fundamentals that earned them those wins.
The 'Noles know that focus will again be the key as they head to lowly Wake Forest (11-8, 2-3 ACC) on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.
"We're just gonna keep doing whatever we've been doing, got to stay focused on our scouting reports and keep improving our offensive schemes and play hard," senior guard Deividas Dulkys said. "Not much to it. Just got to stay focused."
Despite the Deacons' 2-3 conference record, the Seminoles know that they cannot go into Winston-Salem, N.C. expecting an easy win. Head coach Leonard Hamilton is hoping that his team can transfer the same level of play from the high-profile games to the ones like Wedensday when the spotlight isn't burning so bright.
Michael Snaer, whose performance last week earned him ACC Player of the Week honors, knows that coming out with a win will take continued mental preparedness and focus.
"We're going into Wake Forest and you can't write them off, they're a very good team. It's gonna be very difficult for us, (we can't) just go into Wake Forest and expect to beat them, it's gonna be tough. We're gonna get their best shot," Snaer said.
Snaer goes into Wednesday's matchup averaging 15.4 points per game in his last seven outings.
"We just have to make sure we stay focused and stay in the same mindset and people are gonna attack us and we have to keep attacking," he said.
Last week's successful three-game stretch landed the Seminoles in the national rankings - earning the No. 23 spot in the AP poll - but Luke Loucks isn't thinking much about that. He's thinking about the next game.
"We're taking steps in the right direction, but by no means does anyone in the locker room think that we've arrived, or think we're just some unbelievable team. We know we still have to make the proper steps to keep improving and kind of keep this run going," Loucks said.
"We're still trying to find our way. Things are looking up, but we still got - the cake's still in the oven," Hamilton said on Monday. Hamilton has continued to preach to his squad the importance of consistency and mindset.
"We're showing people that we have more respect for the name on the front of our shirts than we do for the name of the people on our opponents shirts," he said." And when you cross over to that mindset, then you are really truly moving into that upper realm."
Looking for a fifth straight ACC win and to solidify their place atop the conference standings, the 'Noles understand the gravity of Wednesday's road game.
"A loss against Wake Forest, and then another one at home, and we're back at the same position we started in. So we have to understand that we cannot take it for granted," Snaer said.
Florida State is taking nothing for granted even as they head into Winston-Salem as the new team to beat in the ACC, but before focusing on any of that, the 'Noles will continue to work hard to make sure they don't beat themselves.