|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 PM GMT10:00 PM 北京时间7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST, Nov 6, 2018
Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Florida Attendance: 11,103
Rivals Florida, No. 17 Florida State square off in season opener
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- With both Florida and Florida State's football programs struggling this year, basketball season can't come soon enough.
And it kicks off in a big way Tuesday night when the Gators travel to the Donald L. Tucker Center to face off against the Seminoles, who come into the game ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25 poll.
"I think it's going to be a great game. A lot of excitement around it," said Florida State senior small forward Terance Mann, who was Florida State's second-leading scorer a year ago at 12.6 points a game. "Just to open up against your rivals (at home), it's going to be an amazing atmosphere."
The Seminoles have played in two exhibitions so far as they beat West Florida 96-56 in the preseason opener, then dispatched of neighboring program Valdosta State 99-77 last Thursday behind a team-high 15 points from returning starting guard Trent Forrest.
The Gators only got one exhibition game under their belt, a 95-70 win against Florida Southern last Tuesday. Florida was led by fifth-year senior guard Jalen Hudson with 14 points, while freshman forward Keyontae Johnson came off the bench and nearly notched a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds in the win.
Gators head coach Mike White, however, wasn't very pleased with many aspects of his team's first outing.
"We've got a ways to go, first and foremost. We were exposed by Florida Southern in a bunch of different areas," White told the school's official website, floridagators.com. "There's a lot to take from these games, (like) the deficiencies of certain individuals; the deficiencies of our team, offensively and defensively; the fact we looked like a pretty good team in spurts. I don't know if you want me to go any further."
Florida State hasn't fared well against their rivals over the years -- Florida leads the lopsided all-time series 43-26 -- but the Seminoles are riding a four-game winning streak against the Gators coming into Tuesday's matchup. The streak of Florida State wins started four years on Dec. 30, 2015, and White is 0-3 in his career against the Seminoles.
The two teams last met on Dec. 4, 2017 in Gainesville, where Florida State routed the Gators -- who were No. 5 in the AP Top 25 Poll at the time -- 86-66. Mann led the Seminoles with 25 points, and Florida State defense held the Gators to just 6-for-25 shooting from the 3-point line.
The Gators' projected starters for Tuesday are: Keith Stone (junior, forward), Kevarrius Hayes (senior, forward), Kevaughn Allen (senior, guard), Andrew Nembhard (freshman, point guard) and Hudson, who is Florida's top returning leading scorer from a year ago at 15.5 points per game.
The Seminoles' projected starters are: Christ Koumadje (senior, center), Mfiondu Kabengele (sophomore, forward), Trent Forrest (junior, guard), M.J. Walker (sophomore, guard) and Mann.
But that could easily change by Game 2.
Mann said one of the best things about having an opener against a team as tough as Florida is to be able to test its starting five right off the bat to see if the Seminoles have the right combination of players.
"You get to kind of experiment with things to see what works and what doesn't work," Mann said. "This may not be the best game to do that, because we do want to win the game, but we know coach will look at everything and find the best group (to put out there going forward after this game)."
And Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton, who is entering his 17th season at the helm, will have his eye on every aspect of the team before, during and after Tuesday's opener.
"We need to have a lot of guys playing well with the style that we play -- we play a very aggressive man-to-man offensive style and we're extremely aggressive on the defensive end," said Hamilton, who is Florida State's all-time winningest coach with a record of 305-208. "(This style) requires us to use a lot of energy to go out and execute well. And it takes a little while to get the new guys (in that same rhythm). "
After their rivalry showdown, Florida State's next game will be Sunday at Tulane.
Florida, meanwhile, will play its second game of the season at home Friday against Charleston Southern.
Updated November 6, 2018