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Seminoles, at home in ACC, set for Terps


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The image of the Atlantic Coast Conference is much like a stockbroker's.

Efficient, coldly calculating, slow to change, but quietly effective. And, above all, conservative.

So, how, many college basketball observers wondered, would the staid ACC welcome the brash and flashy newcomers at Florida State during their inaugural season in the league?

A little more than halfway through their first trip around the

conference, the No. 23 Seminoles (14-5) have received favorable reviews.

Florida State is, by most accounts, the surprise team of the first half of the ACC season, compiling a 6-3 league mark. Four of those wins were on the road.

So, have the Seminoles gotten everything they expected from the ACC?

"And more," said junior guard Sam Cassell, a former Dunbar High star. "There's exciting crowds, the coaches are great and the players are incredible. It's a competitive conference and if you don't come ready to play, you'll get blown out."

The Seminoles, who entertain Maryland (8-10, 1-7) tonight here, have been ready to play in all of their conference games, suffering only one blowout, an 86-70 loss in early January at top-ranked Duke. And Florida State, which won the Metro Conference tournament last year, has racked up some impressive wins, including overtime victories at Wake Forest and Maryland, and a four-point win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

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