April 15, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State, which has won five of its last six games in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, will travel to play at Northwestern on Dec. 3 in the 10th annual battle for conference supremacy. The Seminoles will play the Wildcats for the fourth time in the history of the event which began in 1999. Florida State has a 6-3 record in nine previous challenge appearances and is 2-1 against Northwestern in three previous meetings.
Florida State, which is the fourth winningest team in the history of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, has won five of its six challenge games under Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. Hamilton, who is the 25th winningest coach in ACC history with 106, guided the Seminoles to victories in his first four ACC/Big Ten Challenge games and to a fifth against Minnesota during the 2007 season. Only Duke’s Mike Krzyzweski (nine ACC/Big Ten Challenge victories) and Maryland’s Gary Williams (six) have more challenge victories than Hamilton.
Florida State will face Northwestern for the fourth time in the challenge and for the first time since the 2003 season. The Seminoles won their first ever ACC/Big Ten Challenge game with a 60-46 victory over the Wildcats on the road on Dec. 1, 1999. Florida State also defeated the Wildcats, 71-53, in 2003 in Tallahassee. The Seminoles only loss in the challenge series to the Wildcats came in 2001 – a 57-50 Northwestern win in a game played in Evanston, Ill.
Florida State advanced to postseason play for the third consecutive season and finished the 2007-08 season with a 19-15 record. The Seminoles return a pair of double figure scorers – All-ACC Third-Team selection Toney Douglas (15.4 ppg / 2.6 spg) and forward Uche Echefu (10.0 ppg / 7.3 rpg) – to a rotation that finished with a 7-9 record in the ACC. Florida State defeated four teams who were nationally ranked this past season (Clemson, Florida and Miami, twice) in finishing in a tie for seventh place in the ACC standings. Florida State finished fifth in the nation and led the ACC in free throw shooting percentage with a school-record .773 free throw shooting percentage.
Northwestern, which finished with an 8-22 overall record and a 1-17 record in Big Ten play, returns all five starters to a team that averaged 61.8 points scored per game during the 2007-08 season. The Wildcats lost their opening round game in the Big Ten tournament to Minnesota by a 55-52 score. Junior forward Kevin Coble is Northwestern’s leading returning scorer. The All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection was the league fifth leading scorer in conference play last season.
The ACC, which won the won the challenge by an 8-3 margin in 2007, has won each of the first nine Commissioner’s Cup in the annual series against the Big Ten. The teams from the ACC have won 56 of the 86 games played in the first nine years of the event. For the fourth consecutive year, the event will feature 11 games and include two telecasts on ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network. ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to televise the remaining nine games.
2008 ACC/BIG TEN CHALLENGE SCHEDULE Dec. 1 Wisconsin at Virginia Tech
Dec. 2 Duke at Purdue Clemson at Illinois Ohio State at Miami Virginia at Minnesota Iowa at Boston College
Dec. 3 North Carolina vs. Michigan State (at Ford Field) Indiana at Wake Forest Michigan at Maryland Florida State at Northwestern Penn State at Georgia Tech
FLORIDA STATE'S ACC/BIG TEN CHALLENGE HISTORY (6-3) Dec. 1, 1999 Nov. 29, 2000 Nov. 28, 2001 Dec. 2, 2002 Florida State 60 at Florida State 71 Florida State 50 at Florida State 80 at Northwestern 46 Minnesota 76 at Northwestern 57 Iowa 67
Dec. 1, 2003 Nov. 30, 2004 Nov. 29, 2005 Nov. 28, 2006 at Florida State 71 Florida State 70 at Florida State 97 Florida State 66 Northwestern 53 at Minnesota 69 Purdue 57 at Wisconsin 81
Nov. 27, 2007 at Florida State 75 Minnesota 61