TALLAHASSEE, FLA. Working in the shadows of the nation's most successful football program, Florida State's Steve Robinson has struggled to put together a respectable basketball team in the ACC.
A 74-71 Valentine's Day win at No. 17 Maryland may be just what the fourth-year coach had been seeking to rekindle fan interest in his Seminoles.
"I would think that win there would probably be the biggest boost to his program of anything that has happened yet," football coach Bobby Bowden said Thursday.
Florida State is 7-17 overall and 2-9 in the ACC going into Saturday's home game against No. 12 Virginia.
"I told the guys enjoy it," said Robinson, a former Kansas assistant. "Now we get to play the team that beat Duke."
It's been a long haul for Robinson, 43, who left a successful Tulsa program to try and get Florida State into the ACC's upper echelon.
The Seminoles were 18-14 in his first year with talent recruited by former coach Pat Kennedy, but fell to 13-17 and 12-17 the past two seasons.
Robinson's 50-65 coaching record at Florida State includes a 21-43 record against ACC opponents.
Meanwhile, Bowden's football teams have contended for the national championship for 14 straight years, winning nine straight league titles. Florida State's baseball teams are perennial participants in the NCAA College World Series.
"Our fans have become accustomed for us competing for national titles and we're not there by any means yet," Robinson said. "They want us to be at that level."
Attendance in the 13,000-seat Civic Center has fallen in recent years. Less then 4,000 fans showed up for Duke.
First-year players Michael Joiner, Mike Mathews, Andrew Wilson and Monte Cummings are improving. Next year, Robinson will have J.D. Bracy, sidelined this year for academic reasons, and two other top high school prospects.