June 8, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State men's basketball team will face Nebraska in the 12th annual MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic at the Office Depot Center in Sunrise, Fla., on Dec. 31, 2005. The Seminoles will face the Cornhuskers in the first game of the doubleheader with Miami (Fla.) facing 2005 Final Four participant Louisville in the second game of the event.
The Seminoles will face the Cornhuskers for the first time in school history when the two teams meet on New Years Eve. It will mark on only the second time the Seminoles have faced a team from the state of Nebraska with their only previous game against a team from the Cornhusker state coming against Creighton. The Seminoles last played in the Orange Bowl Classic when they faced Massachusetts during the 1999-00 season. Florida State also played in the event during the 1955-56 season when it finished with a 16-9 record under head coach Joe Kennedy.
"Nebraska is an opponent that's kind of in the same situation we're in, in which we're building," said Hamilton. "And they're leading scorer is from Fort Lauderdale, so I think it's a great opportunity. We know they're going to be a very good opponent. The good thing about it is we feel like we're going to be ready, too. We feel like we're going to be an improved basketball team."
Florida State takes on Nebraska looking to even their record against teams from the Big 12 at 10-10. Florida State most recently played a member of the Big 12, Iowa State, in the second round of the 2004 NIT.
Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton has appeared in the classic six times with all six games coming during his tenure as the head coach at Miami.
Over the past 11 years the Orange Bowl Classic has featured powerhouses such as Miami, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, Indiana, Georgia Tech, UNLV, Gonzaga, Michigan, Xavier, Temple, Charlotte, Ohio State, Tennessee, DePaul, FIU and Providence.
Florida State was one of the nation's most dangerous teams during the 2004-05 season and was one of only six teams in the ACC to defeat a team in ranked in the nation's top five during the season. The Seminoles defeated No. 3 ranked Wake Forest, 91-83 in overtime, on Jan. 18 in Tallahassee. During the season, the Seminoles defeated four teams which played in the NCAA Tournament -- a No. 2 seed (Wake Forest), a No. 4 seed (Florida), a No. 8 seed (Minnesota) and a No. 10 seed (NC State) and played 20 of their 31 games against teams who played in either the NCAA or NIT Tournaments. Overall, the Seminoles defeated five teams who played in the post season this year - Florida (NCAA), Minnesota (NCAA), NC State (NCAA), Virginia Tech (NIT) and Wake Forest (NCAA).
Nebraska finished the 2004-05 season with a 14-14 record after dropping its first contest of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. It was the second straight season the Huskers earned at least a .500 record, while Nebraska's seven wins in conference play tied for their most since the 1998-99 season. Thirteen of the Huskers' 14 losses came against teams that played in the 2005 postseason, including eight teams (nine Nebraska losses) selected for the NCAA Tournament.