Somehow, college basketball begins (in a big way) tonight. Obviously, the headliners nationally are No. 10 Michigan State vs. No. 1 Kansas, and No. 3 Duke vs. No. 2 Kentucky in The Champions Classic from Indianapolis (on ESPN).
But it also sees No. 15 Florida State host Florida in a rare season-opener, and it’s one of the biggest games of the season for the Seminoles. It’s actually the earliest the rivals have met in 69 meetings.
Florida State is looking for its FIFTH straight win over the Gators. The last time the team from Gainesville won in Tallahassee was on December 5, 2012, a comfortable 72-47 outcome for the visitors.
It’s actually surprising Mike White’s Gators aren’t ranked, especially considering this:
Fun fact: Gators hoops has more blue chips on their roster than any ACC team. FSU is missing their leading scorer. Let's do this.— Michael Rogner (@MichaelRogner) November 6, 2018
The leading scorer MR referenced above is Phil Cofer, who suffered an unfortunate foot injury during pre-season practice and is expected to miss at least 6 weeks. Although Florida’s unranked in the polls, KenPom has them 20th.
FSU, of course, is coming off an impressive Elite Eight run. It’ll be interesting to see if the team’s able to pick up where they left off, especially considering the losses of Cofer, Ike Obiagu (transferred to Seton Hall), and CJ Walker (transferred to Ohio State). The ’Noles are trying to make the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season, something they haven’t accomplished since 2010-12.
If you missed TN’s mini-preview of the men’s hoops squad, make sure and check it out before tipoff.
The game is set to tip just after 9:00 pm on ESPN2 (following the conclusion of the Wofford vs. UNC game).
The ’Noles are currently favored by 4 points.
FSU’s starting 5:
PG: Trent Forrest
SG: PJ Savoy
SF: MJ Walker
PF: Terance Mann
C: Christ Koumadje
UF’s starting 5:
PG: Andrew Nembhard
SG: Jalen Hudson
SF: KeVaughn Allen
PF: Kevarrius Hayes
C: Keith Stone