For the first time since the 2000-01 season, Florida State and Florida will open the season against one another. The Seminoles are coming off their deepest NCAA Tournament run since the 1992-93 season, falling in the Elite Eight to Michigan.
Rival Florida reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season before falling to Texas Tech. FSU has won four straight in the series and will look to make it five straight over Florida. The Seminoles won 83-66 last season in Gainesville and 83-78 in the prior match-up in Tallahassee.
Who: Florida Gators (0-0) at No. 17 Florida State Seminoles (0-0)
When: Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 9 p.m. EST (ESPN2)
Where: Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida
Jalen Hudson, G (Sr.): 15.5 PPG, 46% FGs, 40% 3PT
KeVaughn Allen, G (Sr.): 11 PPG, 2.4 APG, 91% FT
Keith Stone, G (Jr.): 8.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 44% FGs
For Florida State
Terance Mann, G (Sr.): 12.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 57% FGs
Trent Forrest, G (Jr.): 8 PPG, 2.4 APG, 1.6 SPG
Mfiondu Kabengele, F (R-So.): 7.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 49% FGs
What to Watch For
Replacing Cofer’s production: Florida State will begin the season without last season’s leading scorer, forward Phil Cofer. Cofer didn’t have his best shooting game last season in Gainesville, but did finish with 10 points and 12 rebounds in an 83-66 victory. With Cofer hurt and Ike Obiagu having transferred, the Seminoles will likely rely heavily down low on Mfiondu Kabengele, a redshirt sophomore, and freshman RaiQuan Gray. Junior forward Keith Stone is the forward to watch for the Gators.
Terance Mann: Terance Mann was without question Florida State’s best player a season ago and few teams would dispute that more than Florida. In last season’s victory in Gainesville last season, Mann went off for a then career-high 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting to go with eight rebounds and two steals. Particularly with Cofer out, Mann will be the go-to guy for the Florida State offense this season.
3-point shooting: Entering last season’s contest, Florida was one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, but were largely shut down against the Seminoles. The Gators shot just 6-for-25 from beyond the arc. Jalen Hudson was the only Florida player to hit multiple triples in the contest. With a corps of great shooters, making shots from deep will be key for Florida. P.J. Savoy is the sharshooter for the Seminoles.
Rebounding: One of the reasons for Florida State’s success last season against rival Florida was the battle on the glass. The Seminoles won that battle by a 51-34 margin. Although Cofer and Obiagu won’t be in the lineup on Tuesday, FSU still looks to have the size advantage with Chris Koumadje, a 7-foot-4 center, and Kabengele inside. Deaundrae Ballard led Florida with nine rebounds in last season’s meeting. This should be an area where the Seminoles have the advantage on Tuesday night.
Number to Pay Attention To
5: That’s the number of consecutive wins that FSU is aiming for over Florida. Prior to last season, the Seminoles had never beat the Gators in more than three consecutive years.