Florida State (1-0) at UCF (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 13, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: CFE Arena (10,000) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: ESPNews. Home Record: Florida St. 1-0, UCF 1-0. Away Record: Florida St. 0-0, UCF 0-0. Neutral Record: Florida St. 0-0, UCF 0-0. Conference Record: Florida St. 0-0, UCF 0-0. Series Record: Florida State leads, 9-0.
GAME NOTES: A Sunshine State showdown is on tap in Orlando on Wednesday evening, as the Florida State Seminoles take on the UCF Knights in non- conference action from CFE Arena.
Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles struggled last season to an 18-16 overall mark, finishing a distant sixth in the ACC with a 9-9 mark. Those numbers were certainly disappointing in Tallahassee, as Hamilton has built a program that has moved up the ACC ladder in a hurry. It was encouraging then for Hamilton in this year's season opener, as FSU routed Jacksonville, 91-67.
Donnie Jones is in his fourth season at UCF and is building a solid program in his own right. The team returns four starters from last year's squad, which should provide a solid base to work with in the team's first season in the American Athletic Conference. The Knights won their 11th straight season opener last week with a 97-72 win over Tampa.
Florida State has won all nine previous meetings with UCF.
With 174 victories over the last eight seasons, FSU ranks third in the ACC in wins over that period, trailing only Duke and North Carolina. This year's squad may struggle to put up an impressive win total in-conference this year, but will be competitive nonetheless. It all starts with senior forward Okaro White. The 6-8 veteran led five Seminoles in double figures in the win over Jacksonville, netting 18 points, while completing a double-double with a career-high 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Devon Bookert poured in 16 points, followed by sophomore Montay Brandon (15 pts), senior Robert Gilchrist (10 pts) and sophomore Aaron Thomas (10 pts). The 91 points the Seminoles racked up is in the most in an season opener since the 1996-97 campaign.
With a solid returning core of players that represent 77.8 percent of the team's scoring last season, UCF has a chance to make some noise in the AAC. Leading the way is three senior starters in Isaiah Sykes, Tristan Spurlock and Calvin Newell. The backcourt combo of Newell and Sykes was unstoppable in the win over Tampa, as Newell poured in 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while Sykes went 9-of-19, finishing with 21 points. Spurlock got into the act as well, tallying 16 points in the lopsided win, UCF shot an impressive 51.4 percent from the floor in the game and outscored Tampa in the paint, 52-28.
The Knights aren't going to back down from anyone, especially and in-state foe that they have never beaten before. That being said, doesn't lose a lot out of conference and should get the job done here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida State 77, UCF 71
11/13 10:33:24 ET