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November 30, 2011

FSU at Michigan State: Four things to watch

Florida State will take the floor in hopes of a key out of conference win when it squares off against Michigan State tonight. The game will be televised on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. EST.

1. Tourney Boost

After returning from the Battle4Atlantis with no signature out of conference wins, Florida State is running out of opportunities to notch a solid non-league win to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume.

Wins over Harvard or Connecticut could have done it, but now Florida State only has tonight's game and a road game at Florida on Dec. 22 to impress the committee before league play.

"We're going down there looking for a win," FSU center Bernard James said. "It would be a big one to put down on our resume to get us to the NCAA Tournament again. Really, we're just looking for the win, nothing else."

2. Find the offense

Florida State struggled mightily from the field against Harvard in the Bahamas, shooting just 36.2 percent from the floor and netting a mere 41 points in the loss.

The struggles continued in the first half of its game against UConn as FSU went just 10-of-27 from the field. But the Seminoles seemed to find something midway through the second half as it erased a 10-point deficit and scored 41 in the second half to force overtime against the defending national champions.

Florida State (5-2) went on to lose to the Huskies 78-76 in overtime.

"I think we've just to learn to be a little more patient," James said. "It showed the last 15 minutes of the (UConn) game."

3. Shannon out

Terrance Shannon has been one of the breakout stars for Florida State through the first seven games, but a shoulder injury now has the 6-foot-7 junior sidelined.

Shannon went to the floor during the UConn game, and when an opposing player fell on him, he dislocated his shoulder. FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said he will not play in tonight's game and there is no timetable for his return.

"Everyone heals differently, so we'll just have to let nature take his course," Hamilton said.

4. Peterson knows the surroundings

One FSU player will be quite familiar with tonight's surroundings as the Seminoles head in to a raucous environment at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.

Senior point guard Jeff Peterson played his first two collegiate seasons at Iowa and made two road trips to Michigan State during that time. He is the only player on FSU's roster who has played a college game there.

"It's very hostile," Peterson said. "Coach (Tom) Izzo already has his team ready to go, the fans are ready to go, they're all into it. It's going to be a good test for us."

FSU will be looking to snap a three game road losing skid in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. It's last road victory came at Minnesota in 2004.



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