December 20, 2019 - by
Basketball Faces USF In Orange Bowl Classic

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SUNRISE, Fla. (seminoles.com) — Florida State, which has won two consecutive and nine of its last 10 games, travels to play USF in the Metro by T-Mobile Orange Bowl Classic on Saturday, December 21, 2019 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The Seminoles will face USF for the first time since December 20, 2014 in a game also played in the Orange Bowl Classic. Florida State’s game against the Bulls marks the eighth consecutive season it will play in the Orange Bowl Classic. The Seminoles enter Saturday’s game against the Bulls with two consecutive victories including a 98-81 win over North Florida on Tuesday night in Tallahassee.

FLORIDA STATE IN THE LAST TWO SEASONS
Florida State is 38-10 (.792 winning percentage) since the beginning of the 2018-19 season entering Saturday’s game against USF. The Seminoles won a school-record 29 games with a 29-8 record (.784 winning percentage) and an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance in 2019 and are 9-2 (.818 winning percentage) in the first 11 games of the 2019-20 season.

SEMINOLES TO HONOR NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE AGAINST USF
The Florida State men’s basketball team will wear turquoise Nike N7 uniforms against USF in Saturday’s game to raise awareness for bringing sport to Native American and Aboriginal youth. It marks the 14th time (and second time this season) the Seminoles will wear the special uniforms. The Seminoles wore the special uniforms in their 80-65 win over Saint Francis in Tallahassee on November 23, 2019. This season (2019-20) marks the seventh consecutive season the Seminoles will wear the turquoise uniforms. Florida State makes a distinct departure from its traditional school colors to don turquoise Nike N7 uniforms to stand for the importance of bringing sport and physical activity to Native American and Aboriginal youth. “The Seminole Tribe of Florida approached us about this program, and we are honored and excited to wear these unique uniforms,” said head coach Leonard Hamilton. The Seminoles first wore the turquoise uniforms in their 89-61 win over UT-Martin in Tallahassee on November 17, 2013.

LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat USF and win its third consecutive game. The Seminoles have earned victories over Clemson (December 8, 72-53) and North Florida (December 17, 98-81) in games sandwiched around final exams and university commencement exercises;
…Defeat USF and win its second consecutive game in the Orange Bowl Classic. The Seminoles defeated Saint Louis on December 22, 2018 and have won eight of their last nine games in the Orange Bowl Classic;
…Defeat USF and raise its record to 3-0 in neutral site games this season. The Seminoles earned victories over both No. 17 Tennessee (60-57, November 29) and Purdue (63-60 in overtime, November 30) in the winning the championship of the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Fla.

SEMINOLES BUILDING A WINNING CLUTURE UNDER LEONARD HAMILTON
With nine wins in their first 11 games of the 2019-20 season and 16 wins in their final 19 games of the 2018-19 season, the Seminoles have won 25 of their last 30 games (.833 winning percentage) since defeating Clemson, 77-68, at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee on January 22, 2019. Florida State has defeated four nationally ranked teams during that incredible stretch of victories with their losses coming at then No. 8 North Carolina, then No. 5 Duke in the Championship game of the 2019 ACC Tournament, then No. 4 Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 of the 2019 NCAA Tournament, at Pitt in the 2019-20 season opener and at Indiana on December 3, 2018 in the ACC /Big Ten Challenge.

FLORIDA STATE ON NEUTRAL COURTS IN THE LAST THREE SEASONS
Florida State enters Saturday’s game against USF with a 16-5 record (.762 winning percentage) in game played on a neutral site court in the last three seasons. Included in those 16 wins is one win in the Orange Bowl Classic (against Saint Louis on 2018), three wins during the 2018 NCAA Tournament (against Missouri and Xavier in Nashville and Gonzaga in Los Angeles) and two wins during the 2019 NCAA Tournament (against Vermont and Murray State in Hartford, Conn.)

FLORIDA STATE VS. USF – CONNECTIONS
Florida State makes its eighth consecutive appearance in the Orange Bowl Classic (and 11th overall appearance) as it plays USF on December 21, 2019 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The Seminoles lead the all-time series against the Bulls by a 21-12 margin with the last game between the two teams coming as the first since a 75-62 win on December 20, 2014 in the Orange Bowl Classic. South Florida is coached by Brian Gregory – who is in his third season as the Bulls’ head coach. He was the head coach at Georgia Tech from 2012-2016 – a five-year period when the Seminoles earned a 4-1 record against the Yellow Jackets. Gregory also coached against Florida State in the inaugural ACC / Big Ten Challenge while an assistant coach at Northwestern. The Seminoles defeated the Wildcats, 60-46, in that game to capture the first Commissioners Cup for the ACC. Tom Herrion, a special assistant coach at USF, has coached against Florida State at three of his nine coaching stops: Virginia (1999-02, 5-2 against Florida State), Pittsburgh (2008-10, 0-1 against Florida State) and Georgia Tech (2015-16, 1-1 against Florida State). Bulls’ Assistant Coach Scott Wagers is 0-1 in his coaching career against Florida State. He coached for Jacksonville against Florida State on November 17, 2015 – a 98-79 Seminole win at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Billy Hubly, the director of player development for the Bulls, spent three seasons at Georgia Tech (2014-16) – a span of three years when the Seminoles were 2-1 against the Yellow Jackets.

FLORIDA STATE’S HISTORY IN THE ORANGE BOWL CLASSIC
No. 21 Florida State owns an 8-2 record in 10 previous Orange Bowl Classic appearances and enters the 2019 Classic having won eight of their last nine games with victories over Nebraska (2005), Western Kentucky (2008), Tulsa (2012), UMass (2013), USF (2014), Florida Atlantic (2016), Manhattan (2017) and Saint Louis (2019).

SEMINOLES IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
With nine victories in its first 11 games – including two over nationally ranked teams – Florida State has been included in the national rankings for the third consecutive week. The Seminoles are ranked 19th nationally by the Associated Press and 19th in the USA Today Coaches’ polls.

FORREST EARNS DEGREE FROM FLORIDA STATE; BEGINS GRADUATE SCHOOL CLASSES ON JANUARY 6
Senior Trent Forrest earned his degree in Sport Management on December 13, 2019 and walked in Florida State University commencement exercises in the building he calls his basketball home – the Donald L. Tucker Center. He will continue his academic career as he has been admitted to Florida State’s prestigious Sport Management Master’s Program — a program that admits just under 40 percent of the applicants.

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