NICEVILLE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) –Florida State, which has won five consecutive games, travels to Niceville, Fla., to play Tennessee at The Arena at Northwest Florida State College in the third round of the Emerald Coast Classic. The Seminoles and the Volunteers are meeting for the ninth time – and for the first time since a 101-90 Florida State victory on January 15, 1989 in Tallahassee. Florida State is playing in the Panhandle of Florida in Niceville for the first time in school history. The campus of Northwest Florida State College is approximately 150 miles west of the Florida State University campus in Tallahassee – the capital city of the state of Florida. The Seminoles’ game in Niceville marks their sixth consecutive game in the state of Florida. After opening the season at Pittsburgh, the Seminoles have played four games in Tallahassee (4-0) and one in Gainesville against Florida (1-0 with a victory over the then No. 6 Gators of the SEC). The Seminoles play nine of their first 11 games of the season in the state of Florida in four different arenas (seven at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, two in The Arena at Northwest Florida, one at the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at the University of Florida and one at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. in the Orange Bowl Classic). Following Friday’s game against Tennessee, the Seminoles will face either Purdue or No. 19/20 VCU in the final round of the Emerald Coast Classic on Saturday. Florida State travels to play at Indiana in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 9:00 p.m. ET
FLORIDA STATE VS. TENNESSEE – CONNECTIONS
Florida State will play Tennessee in the third round of the Emerald Classic on Friday, November 29, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. (ET) at The Arena at Northwest Florida State College. It is the ninth meeting between the two teams – and the first since a regular season meeting on January 15, 1989 in Tallahassee – a game won by the Seminoles by a 101-90 margin. The Vols lead the series, which began during the 1957-58 season, by a 5-3 margin. A total of six of the first eight games have been played on one of the teams’ campuses (five at Tennessee and one at Florida State) with two games played in holiday tournaments at neutral sites. The Seminoles are 1-1 against the Vols in games played at a neutral site. Rick Barnes is in his fourth season as the Volunteers Head Coach. He was the head coach at Clemson in the ACC from 1995-98 – the Seminoles were 4-4 against Barnes when he was the Tigers’ head coach. The Seminoles have also faced Barnes as an assistant coach at Alabama (1985-86, 0-1). Michael Schwartz, a former assistant coach at Miami, is an assistant coach for Barnes at Tennessee. The Seminoles were 10-2 against the Hurricanes with Schwartz on the staff. Desmond Oliver, a former assistant coach at Charlotte, was on the 49ers’ staff in both 2012 and 2013 when the Seminoles defeated Charlotte twice in two games.
IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
Florida State has won 16 in-season tournament championships with its most recent title coming at the 2017 Jamaica Classic. The Seminoles also won the 2008 Global Sports Classic, the 2009 Old Spice Classic, and the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic to give 18th-year Head Coach Leonard Hamilton four tournament championships during his tenure at Florida State.
HAMILTON WITH 70 WINS OVER RANKED TEAMS
Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton enters Friday’s game against No. 16/17 Tennessee looking for his 71st career win over a nationally ranked team. He earned two wins over ranked teams at Oklahoma State, 17 at Miami and 51 at Florida State. He has earned four wins over No. 1 ranked teams: against No. 1 Oklahoma (February 4, 1989 while at Oklahoma State); against No. 1 Duke (March 1. 2006 while at Florida State); against No. 1 North Carolina (March 4, 2009 while at Florida State) and against No. 1 Duke (January 12, 2011 while at Florida State). Nearly 13 percent of Hamilton’s total of 539 wins have come against nationally ranked teams (70 of 539, .1298 percent).
LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat No. 16/17 Tennessee and gain its second victory of the season over a nationally ranked team. The Seminoles defeated then No. 6/6 ranked Florida by a 63-51 decision in Gainesville on November 10, 2019;
…Defeat No. 16/17 Tennessee and win in 21st game against a nationally ranked opponent in the last four seasons. The Seminoles defeated a school-record seven nationally ranked teams during the 2016-17 season;
…Defeat No. 16/17 Tennessee and earn its fifth win over a ranked team from the SEC in the last four years. The Seminoles have three wins over ranked Florida teams and one over a ranked LSU team since Dec. 11, 2016.
THE LAST TEAM TO BEAT VIRGINIA
Florida State, which has won 21 of its last 25 games (.840 winning percentage) dating to a 77-68 victory over Clemson on January 22, 2019, is the last team to beat defending national champion Virginia. The Seminoles topped the Cavaliers, 69-59, in the semifinals of the 2019 ACC Tournament in Charlotte to advance to the ACC Tournament Championship game for the third time in school history.
SEMINOLES REMAIN HOT FROM THE FREE THROW LINE; ENTER FRIDAY’S GAME AS ACC LEADER
Florida State, which shot a season-high .871 percent from the free throw line and made 27 free throws in its win over Chicago State, enters Friday’s game against No. 16/17 Tennessee ranked first in the ACC in free throw shooting percentage with a .817 mark through its first six games of the season. The Seminoles are shooting nearly nine percentage points higher from the line than the second-ranked free throw shooting team in the ACC – Louisville at .732. Florida State is the only team in the ACC shooting above .800 percent from the free throw and the only ACC team shooting better than 74 percent from the free throw line.
SEMINOLES WITH DOUBLE FIGURE STEALS IN LAST TWO GAMES
Florida State earned 11 steals in its 80-65 win over Chattanooga on Nov. 23 and totaled a season-high 13 steals in its victory over Chicago State on Nov. 25 to move into fifth place in the ACC team standings with an 8.2 steals per game average. The Seminoles’ 24 steals in the last two games led to 58 points off turnovers and limited the Mocs and the Cougars to 54 and 52 shots, respectively. Florida State averaged nearly twice as many steals (12.0) in the last two games when compared to its steals average in the first four games of the season.
SEMINOLES’ BENCH OUTSCORES CHICAGO STATE
With three bench players in double figure scoring (Patrick Williams, 16; Nathanael Jack, 14; Balsa Koprivica, 10) in their victory over Chicago State on Monday night in Tallahassee, the Seminoles’ bench outscored the Cougars by a 64-56 margin for the game. The 11 reserves for Florida State scored 64 points and the Cougars as a team scored 56. Florida State’s bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in each of the last five games (all victories) by a 195-115 margin and by a 210-149 (+61 points) for the first six games of the year.