Sept. 9, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State will begin a two-year, home-and-home series with UMass in men’s basketball with the first game of the series set for Feb. 15, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. at the Mullins Center on the Massachusetts campus in Amherst, Mass. as announced by Seminole Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. The Minutemen are scheduled to return the game during the 2005-06 season. In addition, Hamilton announced the Seminoles will play Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Shawnee State in the first and second rounds of the Corpus Christi Challenge in a pair of games that will be played at the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center.
The addition of Massachusetts to their schedule gives the Seminoles 27 regular season games – the maximum allowed by the NCAA. Florida State’s participation in the Corpus Christi Challenge – a four game exempt tournament — counts as only one game towards the Seminoles’ regular season total of 27. With at least one game in the ACC Tournament, four games in the Corpus Christi Challenge and its game against Massachusetts, Florida State will play 30 regular season games for the second consecutive season.
As a member of the nation’s No. 1 rated conference by collegerpi.com, Florida State will certainly play one of the nation’s top rated schedules during the 2004-05 season. Florida State will play three teams from the Southeastern Conference (No. 2 ranked), one from Conference USA (No. 5 ranked), one from the Atlantic 10 (No. 10 ranked) and one Mid-American Conference opponent (No. 14 ranked) during Hamilton’s third season at Florida State. A total of 31 conference champions receive automatic bids to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Massachusetts returns all five starters from a team that finished with a 10-19 record last season. The Minutemen, who played in the NCAA Final Four in 1996, are members of the Atlantic 10 conference which is considered to be one of the top 10 men’s basketball conferences in the nation. Junior Rashaun Freeman, the A-10 Rookie of the Year who averaged 15.4 points and 8.5 rebounds, returns as the team’s leading scorer. The Minutemen ranked first in the league in blocked shots and are coached by Steve Lappas.
Florida State won 19 games (its highest victory total since winning 20 games during the 1997 season), advanced to the second round of the NIT (its first appearance in a post-season national tournament since 1998) and led the ACC with 296 3-point field goals made (the second consecutive season the Seminoles have led the conference in a statistical category) last season. Practice begins for the Seminoles Oct. 15.