Stifling defensive play is a big reason Florida State is tied atop the ACC and ranked for the first time in more than a year. Those achievements are already in jeopardy with a visit to Clemson coming up.
The No. 22 Seminoles look to again match their longest winning streak of the season Saturday when they visit the Tigers.
Florida State (15-5, 5-1) leads the nation in shooting defense, limiting opponents to 35.0 percent from the field while giving up 60.5 points per game to rank second in the conference. The team's average of 6.3 blocks top the league.
That's been key to the Seminoles tying third-ranked Duke for the ACC lead, as they've matched their best start in the conference since 1992-93. Florida State has never won an ACC regular-season or tournament championship, and has cracked the AP poll for the first time since being ranked 25th on Jan. 11, 2010.
"We're kind of moving into uncharted waters for our basketball program," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "In order for this to be meaningful, we have to continue to stay focused. We have to continue to keep getting better."
The Seminoles were impressive in a 67-51 win over Boston College last Saturday, shooting 51.1 percent while holding the Eagles to 35.4 and blocking seven shots. Now, they're in position to win five games in a row for the third time this season - and guarding against complacency.
"You can't get satisfied," said guard Derwin Kitchen, who had 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists against the Eagles. "We still have 10 games left."
Florida State beat Clemson 75-69 on Dec. 12 in Tallahassee. However, the Seminoles have dropped 11 of the last 13 road meetings, including a 77-67 defeat on Feb. 10.
A better effort from Chris Singleton might help them avoid another loss at Littlejohn Coliseum. The junior forward leads Florida State with averages of 14.6 points and 7.7 rebounds, but has totaled 12 points while making 4 of 22 shots over the last two games.
He scored 13 against the Tigers (14-6, 3-3) last month, but had six in the most recent road matchup.
Clemson is 11-1 at home, winning its eighth straight after overcoming a 19-point first-half deficit to beat North Carolina State 60-50 on Tuesday.
The Tigers last won nine in a row as host in a single season from Nov. 19, 2008-Jan. 10, 2009, as part of a 16-game run that bridged two seasons. They're outscoring opponents by 16.9 points during their current streak, which includes three wins over conference foes.
Demontez Stitt, Clemson's leader with 13.9 points per game, is looking to build on a pair of strong performances. The senior guard scored 17 against the Wolfpack after getting 20 in a 79-77 loss at Maryland last Saturday.
He had a team-high 18 points at Florida State last month.
Guard Andre Young is averaging 14.0 points over the last three games versus the Seminoles, scoring 19 off the bench last February.