TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Its first appearance in the Paradise Jam, a trip to play Iowa in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the annual in-state rivalry game against the University of Florida, non-conference games against VCU in Atlanta and Florida Atlantic in Sunrise, Fla., and home contests against Nicholls State, Jacksonville, Southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi State and Charleston Southern highlight Florida State’s 2015-16 non-conference schedule.
The Seminoles will play 12 non-conference games in 2015-16 as well as a complement of 18 ACC games beginning in January. The Seminoles’ ACC opponents (home and away vs. Miami, Clemson, NC State and Syracuse; home against Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia and Wake Forest; at Boston College, Duke, Louisville, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest) have been announced – the dates and times of those games will be finalized and released on or about Sept. 1. The Seminoles will play five non-conference games at home, five at neutral sites and are scheduled to play two true non-conference road games as well as two exhibition games at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Florida State, which returns 87 percent of its scoring and 89 percent of its rebounds, has garnered a great deal of buzz on a number of early pre-season polls released soon after the end of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Seminoles are included in at least three pre-season top-25 polls coming in at No. 21 by the Sporting News and No. 25 by CBSSports.com and coming in just outside of the top-25 by USA Today (No. 26).
Florida State returns its top six scorers including Xavier Rathan-Mayes who led the Seminoles with a 14.9 points per game scoring average. He set school records for freshmen with 476 total points and his 14.9 average while earning Freshman All-American and All-ACC Honorable Mention Honors. Rathan-Mayes became the first freshman in ACC history to score 30 or more points three times. Also back for the Seminoles are seniors Montay Brandon (Florida State’s leading rebounder in 2014-15) and Devon Bookert (the Seminoles’ leading 3-point shooter in 2014-15).
Florida State opens its non-conference schedule as it plays host to Nicholls State (Nov. 15) in the season opener for both teams then hosts Jacksonville in the Tucker Center (Nov. 17). The Seminoles’ game against Nicholls State marks their third-all-time meeting against the Colonels while they renew their series against Jacksonville after not playing the Dolphins last season. Florida State has won 18 consecutive games against Jacksonville including six straight under Hamilton.
The Seminoles will then play three games in the prestigious U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (Nov. 20-23) where they face Hofstra of the Colonial Athletic Association in the first round and either South Carolina (from the SEC) or DePaul (from the Big East Conference). Florida State’s third round opponent will be Indiana State, Norfolk State, Tulsa or Ohio.
Following its participation in the Paradise Jam, the Seminoles will play at Iowa (Dec. 2) in the 17th Annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Florida State’s game at Iowa marks the second time the two teams will meet in the challenge. The Seminoles defeated the Hawkeyes, 80-67, on December 2, 2002 in Tallahassee. Florida State is 1-1 all-time against Iowa with a Seminole win in the 2002 ACC/Big Ten Challenge and a 102-98 Hawkeye win in the 1988 NCAA Tournament at Los Angeles.
After the Seminoles’ final exam period, they will play three of their next four games at home as they play host to Southeastern Louisiana (Dec. 13), Mississippi State (Dec. 16) and Charleston Southern (Dec. 21). The Seminoles played both Mississippi State and Charleston Southern last season and will face Southeastern Louisiana for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Florida State will face VCU on Dec. 6 at Philips Arena in Atlanta. It marks the Seminoles’ third ever game against the Rams with Florida State topping the No. 10 ranked Rams, 85-67, in the first round of the Puerto Rico Shootout during the 2013-14 season.
Florida State will face Florida Atlantic in the 22nd Annual MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic on Dec. 19, 2015 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The Seminoles’ game against the Owls will be the fifth all-time meeting and first since Dec. 2, 1997 between the two teams. Florida State leads the all-time series against the Owls by a 4-0 margin with each of the first four games of the series coming in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles will face at least two teams from the SEC as they play host to Mississippi State (Dec. 16) and play at Florida (Dec. 29) to close out their non-conference schedule. The Bulldogs’ appearance in Tallahassee will be their first since the 1954-55 season while Florida State will look to win its second consecutive game against Florida after beating the Gators last season in Tallahassee.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2015-16 season. We are asking Tallahassee to ‘FAN UP’ and make the Tucker Center a true home court advantage. Tickets can be ordered on-line at Seminoles.com or by calling (888) FSU-NOLE (378-6653).
Quoting head coach Leonard Hamilton on the Seminoles’ 2015-16 Non-Conference Schedule
“Our schedule before we begin ACC play in January will give our youngsters a tremendous opportunity to acclimate themselves to college basketball and allow our team to grow as a unit. We will play a strong mix of teams who are established nationally and others who will be picked to win their conference championships.
“We are looking forward to getting on the court with our players as we begin to look to starting the upcoming season. We feel that we have a strong group of returning players who know our system well and who will be great mentors to our group of young player who are new to our program and to our system. We have an exciting mix of players and we are anxious to watch this group grow as individuals and into a cohesive unit.
“We are excited about this group of players and feel that we have put together a schedule that will help them grow as players right from the start. There is a tough stretch of games – all on the road at the Paradise Jam, on the road in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and against VCU in Atlanta where our young guys are going to have to grow up quickly for us to be successful.”
Article Courtesy of Seminole Athletics