TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) — No. 9/9 Florida State, which has won six consecutive games and was undefeated during the month of December, plays host to Winthrop on Tuesday, January 1, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee. The Seminoles’ game against the Eagles marks its first game of the 2019 calendar year and their final non-conference regular season game of the 2018-19 schedule. Florida State has won each of its games since a 73-72 win over No. 19/21 Purdue in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge (Nov. 28). The Seminoles opened their season with five consecutive victories and are riding a season-long six-game winning streak as Winthrop comes to the Tucker Center for the second time in school history and for the second time in the last three seasons. Following its game against Winthrop, Florida State travels to play at No. 1/2 Virginia in its first of 18 consecutive ACC games. The Seminoles and the Cavaliers will play at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. in their eighth ever match-up of two top-10 teams.
FLORIDA STATE VS. WINTHROP – A SERIES HISTORY
Florida State plays host to Winthrop in its final non-conference home game of the regular season on January 1, 2019 at the Donald L. Tucker Center. It marks just the third time in school history (also during the 1956-57 and 1957-58 seasons) the Seminoles will play on New Year’s Day. The Seminoles’ game against the Eagles marks just the second game between the two teams – and second in the last three seasons. Florida State defeated Winthrop by a 100-86 margin in the 2016 Preseason NIT Tip-Off Classic. Current Seminole senior Christ Koumadje scored 14 points in that victory. Pat Kelsey, who is in his eighth season as the Eagles’ head coach, was the head coach at Winthrop in the first meeting between the two teams. Kelsey coached against Florida State as a member of the Wake Forest coaching staff – first as the Director of Operations (2001-04) and then as an Assistant Coach (2004-09). Assistant coach Brian Kloman, who is in his sixth season on the Eagles’ bench, is 0-1 against Florida State, having coached in Tallahassee the first and only time the two teams have previously met. Mike Howland, also an assistant coach at Winthrop, was the Eagles’ Director of Operations when Florida State defeated Winthrop during the 2016-17 season.
FLORIDA STATE IS OFF TO A SCHOOL RECORD TYING START
Florida State, which has won 11 of its first 12 games, has tied the school mark fort the best record after 12 games. The Seminoles are 11-1 for the sixth time in school history – and for the third consecutive season. The Seminoles have improved to 12-1 three times in school history – most recently to begin the 2016-17 season.
FLORIDA STATE’S NATIONAL RANKING
Florida State enters Tuesday’s game against Winthrop ranked No. 9 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Poll. It marks the second consecutive week the Seminoles are ranked No. 9 in both polls. The Seminoles’ No. 9 ranking is their highest AP raking since they were ranked No. 6 during the week of Jan. 23, 2016. Florida State was ranked No. 8 nationally in the Coaches Poll during the same week during the 2016-17 season. Florida State has now spent 17 weeks in the top-10 of the AP poll since their first appearance at No. 9 on Feb. 10, 1970.
LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat Winthrop and win its 32nd consecutive non-conference home game. The Seminoles’ victory over Winthrop on Nov. 16, 2016 was their 13th of 31 consecutive non-conference wins in their current streak;
…Defeat Winthrop and raise its record to 38-2 at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center since the beginning of the 2016-17 season (a perfect 18-0 record in 16-17; 13-2 in 2017-18 and 6-0 so far this season).
SEMINOLES SHOOTING THE BALL WELL
Florida State shot a season-high .554 from the field and earned its eighth double figure win with its 81-59 victory over Saint Louis in the Orange Bowl Classic on December 22. It marked the third consecutive game – and fourth game this season – Florida State shot 50 percent or better from the field. Florida State is shooting .518 and averaging 87.0 points scored in its last three games.
SEMINOLES FROM THE FREE THROW LINE
Florida State enters Tuesday’s game against Winthrop ranked third in the ACC with a .758 free throw shooting percentage. The Seminoles are one of four teams in the ACC shooting better than 75 percent from the free throw line for the season. Florida State is shooting a combined .875 from the free throw line in the last two games after shooting a season-high .923 from the line in defeating North Florida by a 95-81 margin on December 19. The Seminoles have shot 70 percent or better from the line in 10 of 12 games; 80 percent or better in five games (all victories) and better than 90 percent once (in its win over North Florida).
FLORIDA STATE’S SCORING DEFENSE
Florida State enters the New Year ranked as one of 12 teams in the ACC allowing less than an average of 70 points per game scored by its opponents. The Seminoles have held 10 of its first 12 opponents below their scoring average for the season including holding LSU to 15 points below their scoring average. The Seminoles held Troy and UConn to 10 points below their scoring average. Florida State has held 10 of its 12 opponents below 75 points scored including a season-low 59 by Saint Louis which is the consensus pick to win the Atlantic 10 championship.
Florida State, which ranks second in the ACC in steals with an 8.3 steals per game average, has earned 21 steals in the last two games (11 vs. North Florida and 10 vs. Saint Louis). The Seminoles have totaled double figure steals in four different games (all victories over LSU, UConn, North Florida and Saint Louis) and are one of only two teams in the ACC (also Duke) who have reached the 100 steals plateau for the season.