TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Florida State will play Temple and West Virginia will face Illinois in the semifinals of the 2016 NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. on November 24, 2016 in a Thanksgiving Day doubleheader that will be televised on the ESPN family of networks. The Seminoles and Owls will tip-off the afternoon at 12:30 p.m. and will be followed by the Mountaineers and Fighting Illini at 3:00 p.m.
Each of the four championship round teams will also host two non-bracketed games on campus as part of the event. The complete schedule of the campus-site games will be announced at a later date. The event is in its second year at Barclays Center; the NIT Season Tip-Off is a continuation of the annual preseason event that began in 1985. Defending NCAA National Champion Villanova won the 2015 event.
Florida State will face either West Virginia or Illinois on November 25. The Seminoles have not played the Mountaineers since a 76-71 win in the postseason NIT on March 19, 1997 and have never faced the Fighting Illini in the sport of basketball. The third-place and championship games are scheduled for 12:30 and 3:00 p.m.
Florida State’s game against Temple will mark the fourth in the series and first since 1999 between the two teams. The teams last met on Nov. 29, 1999 in Tallahassee as Temple took a 69-58 win over the Seminoles. Florida State defeated the Owls by a 91-80 score on Dec. 20, 1992 in the Milk Classic in Orlando in 1992. Temple leads the series by a 2-1 margin.
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.
The Seminoles defeated three of the Elite Eight teams in the 2016 NCAA Tournament – Notre Dame, Syracuse and Virginia – during the 2015-16 season.
Florida State is 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.
Sophomore Dwayne Bacon (15.8 ppg) and junior 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 and 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 sophomore Terance Mann (5.2 ppg), senior Jarquez Smith (5.1 ppg and 3.5 rpg), sophomore 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).
Tickets for the NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center will go on sale July 22 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased via Ticketmaster by visiting www.barclayscenter.com, or www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center beginning July 23 at noon. Tickets are available for groups by calling 855-GROUP-BK.
Florida State plays its first four games at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center beginning with its season-opener against Charleston Southern on November 12. The Seminoles will also play host to Iona (Nov. 15) and two games in the NIT Season Tip-Off (Nov. 18 and Nov. 20) before travelling to New York to play in the championship rounds of the event. Season tickets for the Seminoles’ 18-game home schedule can be purchased by logging on to www.seminoles.com or by calling the FSU Ticket Office at 1-888-FSU NOLE.