A little more than two weeks ago, the Florida State men's basketball team used a visit to Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum to spark an encouraging but brief run that saw the Seminoles start 2-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play for the first time in more than a decade.
FSU coach Leonard Hamilton expects a "rock 'em, sock 'em" finish to the ACC schedule.
And with Clemson's return trip to the Donald L. Tucker Center set for tonight (8 p.m., ACC Network/ESPN3), the Seminoles are hoping that the Tigers will be the cure for what ails them once again.
A two-game losing streak has derailed FSU's fast start, but, with 14 conference games remaining, the Seminoles will have ample opportunity to get back on track.
“We've still got plenty of time,” senior guard Michael Snaer said. “We've just got to correct some of the mistakes that we have and keep getting better and growing as a team. But it's going to take a lot of effort. It's going to take a lot of guys willing to commit to doing certain things and playing certain roles.
“If we do that, we'll be fine.”
The good news for FSU is that, at least through the early portion of the league slate, there hasn't been much separation between the league's 12 teams. Only Miami, which FSU visits this weekend, has a perfect 4-0 mark. And 10 teams, Florida State among them, have at least two conference losses.
“I'm not real sure how to predict this one,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said of the season. “This is going to be a rock 'em, sock 'em finish. I'm sure that's going to be hard to predict.”
But if Florida State is to earn its first sweep of Clemson since 2009, it will have to play better than last Saturday's outing at Virginia, where the Seminoles scored a mere 36 points, shot just 37.2 percent and made just 1 of 15 3-point attempts.
Guard Ian Miller said that having previous success against the Tigers can come in handy, but that the Seminoles still must look inward to solve their inconsistencies.
Terrance Shannon is expected to make a full recovery from his neck sprain, but there is still no timetable for his return.
“It does help, but at the end of the day, if we aren't going to stick together then it isn't going to work,” Miller said. “Last time we played them, we were, I guess, the underdogs because everyone expected us to lose that game because we were losing. We're at that point again where it seems like things are struggling away again.
“We've just got to get it right.”
Shannon's return uncertain
Hamilton said Tuesday that he expects forward Terrance Shannon to make a complete recovery from a neck sprain suffered at Virginia, but there is still no timetable for his return.
“From what I can understand, we don't think that his injury is something that he can't have a 100 percent recovery from,” Hamilton said. “Everybody kind of heals at a different pace, so we're going to run some additional tests so we know exactly – to rule out any other issues he might have. All indications are that it's an injury that's going to set him back, but not anything that's going to create any type of permanent injury.”
Shannon has been plagued by injuries for much of his college career – he sat out almost all of last season with a separated shoulder then missed a game earlier this season after suffering a stinger in his neck.
Hamilton joked that Shannon, who was wearing a neck brace Tuesday at FSU's practice facility, would probably try to practice with the team if they let him, but would not project whether a return for the remainder of this season could be possible.
“I’m not going to try to anticipate or put myself in that situation until I get a better feel from the doctors,” Hamilton said. “This is the second time he’s had an injury like that. You really don’t know if it’s kind of a part of what he’s already been experiencing or whether or not this is something really, really new.”