May 14, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - ACC Champion Florida State will play host to Minnesota on November 27, 2012 at the Donald L. Tucker in Tallahassee in the 14th Annual ACC / Big Ten Challenge. It will mark the fourth time in the history of the challenge the Seminoles will play Minnesota with Florida State holding a 2-1 advantage and having won two consecutive games against the Gophers.
The 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge includes nine teams ranked in an ESPN.com early preseason top 25 including five of the top nine: No. 1 Indiana, No. 5 Michigan, No. 6 NC State, No. 8 Ohio State and No. 9 Michigan State. The Seminoles and Gophers have both received mention as two of the top teams in the nation according to most preseason polls.
The ACC won the first 10 ACC/Big Ten Challenges while the Big Ten captured the Commissioners Cup for the third consecutive time, with an 8-4 advantage over the ACC last year. In the event of a 6-6 tie, the Commissioner's Cup will remain with the conference that won the previous year.
2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge Tuesday Nov. 27 Wednesday November 28 North Carolina at Indiana Ohio State at Duke NC State at Michigan Virginia at Wisconsin Minnesota at Florida State Michigan State at Miami Maryland at Northwestern Purdue at Clemson Iowa at Virginia Tech Georgia Tech at Illinois Nebraska at Wake Forest Boston College at Penn State
Florida State returns two starters and four of its top five scorers - including ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player Michael Snaer - for the 2012-13 season from its team that won the ACC Championship and played in its school record fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament. The Seminoles finished the 2012 season with a 25-10 overall record and a school record 12-4 mark in ACC play. The Seminoles defeated an ACC high six ranked teams including both Duke and North Carolina twice and defeated each of the four Tobacco Road teams in the ACC (Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest) in the same season for the first time since joining the ACC for the 1991-92 season.
The Seminoles are the third winningest team in the ACC (behind only Duke and North Carolina) since the start of the 2007-08 season. The Seminoles average nearly 23 wins in each of the last five seasons under head coach Leonard Hamilton. Hamilton, who was named the ACC Coach of the Year in both 2009 and 2012, is the second longest tenured coach in the ACC.
Snaer (Moreno Valley, Cal.) is a senior guard who returns as an All-America candidate and among the favorites to earn ACC Player of the Year honors. He averaged a team leading and career high 14.0 points and a career high 3.8 rebounds as a junior and has started 77 of the last 78 games since his freshman season. Snaer earned All-ACC Second Team honors and was named to the ACC All-Defensive team as a junior.
Florida State also returns junior guard Ian Miller, one of the most explosive scorers in all of college basketball and junior forward Okaro White who averaged 7.7 points as a sophomore. White ranked third on the team with 34 3-point shots made a sophomore and made the game-winning 3-point basket with 0.08 seconds remaining in the Seminoles' 63-60 win at Virginia on March 1, 2011. White has started 25 games during the first two years of his career and is Florida State's leading returning shot blocker.
Florida State finished the 2012 season ranked in the top 15 in both major polls - 10th by the Associated Press and 15th in the ESPN/USA Today poll -- to mark only the second time in school history it has finished in the top 15 of both major polls. The Seminoles set an ACC record in 2012 as it led the league in field goal percentage defense for the fourth consecutive season and are annually one of the nation's top defensive teams. The Seminoles have finished first, first and fifth nationally in the last three seasons in the defensive field goal percentage category.
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise all 12 games of the two-day event matching top college basketball programs playing for conference supremacy and the Commissioners Cup.
All 12 games will also be available via WatchESPN, which delivers live access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 on PCs, smartphones and tablets to fans who receive ESPN's linear networks as part of their video subscription from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks or Verizon FiOS TV.
Eleven teams between the two conferences in this year's Challenge played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament: Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, NC State and Virginia from the ACC, and Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin from the Big Ten. Five of the games will mark three-time Challenge matchups: North Carolina at Indiana (Indiana won in 2001 and North Carolina in 2004), NC State at Michigan (Michigan won in 2003 and NC State in 2006), Ohio State at Duke (Duke won in 2002 and Ohio State in 2011), Minnesota at Florida State (Florida State won in 2004 and 2007) and Purdue at Clemson (Purdue won in 2003 and Clemson in 2007).
Minnesota returns all but one player from a team that finished the season 23-15 overall, including an appearance in the NIT Championship game. The 23 wins during the 2011-12 campaign were the most at Minnesota since the 1989-90 team also won 23 (vacated years not included). The Gophers have appeared in the postseason in four of the five seasons under head coach Tubby Smith. Smith will enter the 2012-13 season with 103 career wins on the Gopher sideline, joining just seven other coaches to win 100 games at the University of Minnesota. His current winning percentage of .602 (103-68) is the fourth-highest in program history. Smith is 490-213 overall in 21 seasons as a head coach.
Minnesota will be led by the senior duo of Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams. Mbakwe, a 2011 preseason All-American & preseason All-Big Ten First Team member, missed all but seven games last season with a knee injury. He was granted a sixth season by the NCAA. As a junior, Mbakwe led the Big Ten Conference in rebounding at 10.5 boards per game, to go along with 13.9 points per game. He was the first Gopher player to average a double-double since Kris Humphries did so during the 2003-04 season. He was also only one of four Gophers to finish a season as the conference's leading rebounder (Mychal Thompson: 1975-76 & 1977-78; Richard Coffey: 1987-88; Humphries: 2003-04). He finished the season with 327 rebounds, the third-most in program history.
Williams is coming off of a career year that saw him lead the team in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, steals and minutes played. His averages in those categories of 12.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.3 steals and 31.9 minutes played were all career highs. One of the most athletic players in the conference & country, Williams led the team across the board in its run to the NIT title game at Madison Square Garden.
FLORIDA STATE'S ACC/BIG TEN CHALLENGE HISTORY Dec. 1, 1999 Nov. 29, 2000 Nov. 28, 2001 Dec. 2, 2002 Florida State 60 at Florida State 71 Florida State 50 at Florida State 80 at Northwestern 46 Minnesota 76 at Northwestern 57 Iowa 67