TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Nationally ranked Florida State, which played in the Elite Eight of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, will face St. Louis in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic Dec. 22, 2018 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The game against St. Louis marks the Seminoles’ 10th appearance in the event and first game against the Billikens since the 1982 season when both teams were members of the Metro Conference.
Florida State makes its seventh consecutive appearance and its ninth in the event under Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. The Seminoles are 7-1 under Hamilton in the event with five wins in their last six seasons. The game against St. Louis marks Florida State’s 10th different opponent in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.
“The opportunity to play St. Louis in the Orange Bowl Classic is a win-win for our program,” said Hamilton. “Travis Ford does a great job with his team; St. Louis will be among the favorites to win the Atlantic 10 this season. It’s also a great game for our fans in south Florida to have an opportunity to see our team play in a tremendous event in a great arena. We love playing in the Orange Bowl Classic.”
Florida State holds an 11-1 series advantage and has won four consecutive games against the Billikens. The series began on Jan. 4, 1972 – when the Seminoles took a 63-62 win over St. Louis in the championship game of the Senior Bowl Basketball Tournament. It was the same season – just two months later that Florida State played UCLA in the championship game of the 1972 NCAA Tournament.
Florida State and St. Louis played as members of the Metro Conference from the 1976 through the 1982 seasons when the Billikens left the conference to join the Mid Continent Conference. Florida State left the Metro for the ACC in 1991. The Seminoles were 10-1 against St. Louis while members of the Metro, with their only loss coming by one point on Feb. 4, 1980. Ford is in his third season as the Billikens’ Head Coach. He, as did Hamilton, coached at Oklahoma State – Hamilton from 1987-90 and Ford from 2008-16. Hamilton and Ford also have the University of Kentucky in common – Hamilton was an assistant and associate head coach from 1974-86 and Ford was a player for the Wildcats (1992-94).
The Seminoles are led by seniors Phil Cofer and Terance Mann – the team’s top two returning scorers and rebounders from last season’s 23-12 team. Cofer (12.8 ppg and 5.1 rpg) and Mann (12.6 ppg and 5.4 rpg) were both named to the West Regional All-Tournament team in the 2018 NCAA Tournament as the Seminoles advanced to within one game of the Final Four for the second time in school history.
“The Seminoles were one of the surprise Elite Eight teams and it had a lot to do with their defense, length and ability to stay together,” said Andy Katz of NCAA.com. “None of that should change. Mann could have a banner season and should be in contention for ACC Player of the Year.”