Aug. 11, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida State men’s basketball team will be at the center of the college basketball universe as ESPN College GameDay Driven by State Farm – the widely popular live college basketball preview show – will come to the Donald L. Tucker Center for the Seminoles’ game against North Carolina on Jan. 14, 2012. Both the Seminoles and the Tar Heels are expected to be picked as two of the top three teams in the ACC and both are expected to be nationally ranked when ESPN begins eight consecutive weeks of on-campus basketball excitement.
Florida State advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament 2011 while North Carolina came within one win of advancing to the Final Four. The Seminoles are ranked No. 23 and the Tar Heels No. 1 in the most recent pre-season poll by ESPN senior writer Andy Katz who says: “The Seminoles lost Chris Singleton and Derwin Kitchen off a Sweet 16 team. The rest of the team returns, with Michael Snaer and Ian Miller expected to take on even larger roles. The addition of newcomer Antwan Space gives the Seminoles even more depth. Florida State will defend as always, but don’t be surprised if this team can score more easily next season.”
Since the beginning of the 2005-06 season Florida State has defeated three No. 1 ranked teams with two of those wins coming at home. The Seminoles are one of only five teams in the nation (Kansas State, Louisville, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech) who have defeated two No. 1 ranked teams on their home court since beating No. 1 ranked Duke at home on March 1, 2006. Florida State also defeated No. 1 ranked Duke on Jan. 12, 2011 and has defeated 21 nationally ranked teams in the last nine years under head coach Leonard Hamilton.
Florida State defeated No. 1 ranked North Carolina on March 14, 2009 to advance to the championship game of the ACC Tournament for the first time in school history.
“To serve as a host for ESPN and College Basketball GameDay is certainly a huge honor and we are thankful to ESPN for giving our program this opportunity,” said head coach Leonard Hamilton. “ESPN has played such a large role in the growth of college basketball on television and this is one of the great things the network does for college basketball. Having College GameDay at Florida State is a special tribute to our players – current and past – who have helped build this program into a GameDay-worthy destination.”
The Seminoles’ first ever appearance on College GameDay will be highlighted by its 2:00 p.m. game against the Tar Heels.
College GameDay made its debut on Jan. 22, 2005. Host Rece Davis is joined on the program by former Notre Dame head coach Digger Phelps, former Duke player and assistant coach Jay Bilas, former North Carolina standout Hubert Davis, college basketball’s all-time winningest coach Bobby Knight and college basketball senior writer Andy Katz.
Added legendary ESPN Basketball analyst Dick Vitale: “Florida State will be heard from even without Chris Singleton. Coach Leonard Hamilton got a recent boost with the addition of Arkansas transfer Jeff Peterson who will be eligible right away. The `Noles also added a solid nucleus through recruiting.”
“Being selected to host College GameDay is something every college basketball player hopes happens during his career,” said senior guard Luke Loucks. “Our coaches have done an exceptional job of moving this program toward elite status in college basketball. This is another example of where our program is headed. We are also excited for our fans and hope to see a loud and rowdy crowd when GameDay and North Carolina comes to the Tucker Center.
The executives at ESPN echo Loucks’ sentiments.
“With College GameDay and the Saturday Primetime franchise, we want to feature games that have conference championship and national implications,” said Nick Dawson, Director of Programming and Acquisitions at ESPN. “This game fits that bill. Florida State is known for having passionate fans and a great atmosphere for college basketball, so we’re excited to launch the eighth season of ESPN College GameDay from Tallahassee.”