TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Florida State will face UCF in the 27th Annual AutoNation Orange Bowl Classic on Saturday, December 18, 2021 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The Seminoles’ game against the Knights is part of a doubleheader which also includes Florida against USF.
Florida State’s game against UCF marks its 12th appearance in the Orange Bowl Classic. The Seminoles first appeared in the event in 1999 and have an overall record of 9-2 – a record that includes nine wins in their last 11 games. The Seminoles have appeared in the event each of the last eight times it has been played and have earned victories over USF (2019), Saint Louis (2018), Manhattan (2016), Florida Atlantic (2015), USF (2014), UMass (2013) and Tulsa (2012) during that span.
Florida State will face UCF for the second consecutive season and for the 13th time in school history. The Seminoles lead the all-time series by an 11-1 margin. Florida State is 3-1 against UCF under 20th-year head coach Leonard Hamilton.
Hamilton enters his 20th season at Florida State as the Seminoles’ all-time winningest coach and the fifth all-time winningest coach in ACC history with 378 wins. He has guided the Seminoles to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three NCAA Tournaments including this past season when the Seminoles were the No 4 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament.
Florida State is just one of three teams in the nation (also Michigan and Gonzaga) which has advanced to the Sweet 16 in each of the last three NCAA Tournaments. The Seminoles are also one of six teams in the nation that has won at least one game in each of the last four NCAA Tournaments (Florida State, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan, and Villanova, Florida). Florida State has won eight games in the last four NCAA Tournaments. The Seminoles are 8-4 with at least one win in each of the last four NCAA Tournaments.
Florida State returns guards Anthony Polite (10.1 ppg, .436 3-point shooting percentage), RayQuan Evans (5.1 ppg, 18 starts in 2020-21) and Malik Osborne (5.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg) to its lineup for the upcoming season. The Seminoles also welcome guards Caleb Mills (from the University of Houston) and Cam’Ron Fletcher (from the University of Kentucky) to their rotation. Florida State will also begin the 2021-22 season with one of the nation’s top recruiting classes, which includes two of the top-24 players in the nation.
Florida State was ranked No. 12 in the final Associated Press poll and No. 15 in the final coaches poll of the 2021 season. The Seminoles have finished 12th or higher in the national polls in each of the last three seasons (2021, No. 10; 2020, No. 4; 2019, No. 12) and has been ranked in the final national poll in each of the last five seasons (2021, No. 10; 2020, No. 4; 2019, No. 12; 2018, No. 18; 2017, No. 16). The Seminoles are one of only two teams in the ACC to be ranked in the final poll in each of the last five seasons.
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