June 8, 2016 - by
Seminoles Play Host To Minnesota in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Florida State, which has won more games than all but two ACC teams in the last 11 years, will play host to Minnesota on Nov. 28, 2016 at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee in the 18th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  The Seminoles’ meeting against the Gophers marks the fourth meeting and third in the Challenge since the 2012-13 season between the two teams.  The two teams also met in the semifinals of the 2014 NIT in Madison Square Garden.

The Seminoles are generating a great deal of pre-season exposure for the 2016-17 season as they return one of the nation’s top players in Dwayne Bacon.  Bacon, who earned Freshman All-American honors and who was named to the All-ACC Freshman team, was named the ACC Rookie of the Week both an ACC-leading and Florida State record five times in his first collegiate season.  Bacon averaged a team-leading 15.8 points and a team leading 5.8 rebounds as Florida State advanced to the second round of the NIT.

The Seminoles are ranked 18th in the preseason poll by NBC Sports, 21st by the Sporting News and 23rd in the most recent preseason poll by Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com.  Says Brannon: “This time last year, Dwayne Bacon was the highest-touted incoming prospect in FSU basketball history. After a productive but tournament-bid-free freshman season, Bacon’s decision to return for his sophomore season was huge — particularly for a team that looked likely to lose fellow guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes. Then Rathan-Mayes came back, too. The upshot is a talented and athletic group buttressed by the arrival of another elite prospect (forward Jonathan Isaac).”

The Seminoles return two of their top three scorers, their top rebounder and top assist man to a team that ranked third in the ACC in scoring (78.0 ppg), defeated NCAA Final Four participant Syracuse (78-73, March 5), dealt Notre Dame (who advanced to the NCAA Elite 8) its largest loss of the 2015-16 season and defeated ACC runner-up Virginia (69-62, Jan. 17) in finishing with at least 20 wins for the eighth time in 14 years under head coach Leonard Hamilton.

Bacon (15.8 ppg) and Xavier Rathan-Mayes (11.8 ppg) return as one of the top scoring duos in the ACC as they combined to score an average of 27.6 points per game last season.  Bacon led the Seminoles in scoring a rebounding while Rathan-Mayes led the Seminoles in assists with a career-high 4.7 apg average.

Also returning to Florida State’s rotation is rising sophomore Terance Mann (5.2 ppg), rising senior Jarquez Smith (5.1 ppg and 3.5 rpg), rising senior Benji Bell (team-leading .326 mark from 3-point range) and freshman big-man Chris Koumadje (at 7-4 the tallest player in the ACC).  The Seminoles will also welcome back forward Phil Cofer (who played only 11 games in 2015-16) and center Michael Ojo (who missed the entire 2015-16 season while recovering from an off-season knee injury).

The event matches all 14 Big Ten teams against all but one ACC member. Network assignments and tip times will be announced at a later date.

Seminoles Play Host To Minnesota in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

2016 ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Monday, Nov. 28
Minnesota at Florida State
Wake Forest at Northwestern
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Syracuse at Wisconsin
Michigan State at Duke
Pittsburgh at Maryland
Iowa at Notre Dame
Georgia Tech at Penn State
NC State at Illinois
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Purdue at Louisville
North Carolina at Indiana
Ohio State at Virginia
Virginia Tech at Michigan
Rutgers at Miami
Nebraska at Clemson

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