While Florida State managed to win 22 games last season, Leonard Hamilton’s squad did not achieve its goal of returning the NCAA tournament. Instead the Seminoles were a part of the Postseason NIT field, where they won three games before falling to eventual champion Minnesota in the semifinals.
With guards Aaron Thomas, Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon returning the Seminoles will look to account for the loss of guard Ian Miller and forward Okaro White, and on Thursday the program released its non-conference schedule. Florida State will play three home games against teams that reached the NCAA tournament last season: Florida, Nebraska and Manhattan with the game against the Cornhuskers being part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
In total the Seminoles will play games against NCAA tournament participants Providence and UMass as part of the Naismith Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic in Uncasville, Conn. on November 22 and 23.
“Our non-conference schedule will challenge us, there is no doubt about that,” Hamilton said in the release. “We have always worked to assemble a schedule that will prepare us for our ACC schedule and we have done that again this season.
“We will play teams from ten different conferences so we will see a variety of styles of play which will certainly prepare us for the ACC which is the best conference in college basketball history.”
In addition to their perimeter returnees, Florida State will also add shooting guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes to the mix. Rathan-Mayes was forced to sit out last season after the NCAA did not clear him academically, and he’s expected to factor into the Florida State perimeter rotation immediately.
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.