The Florida State men's basketball team, which finished with a 19-14 record and advanced to the second round of the NIT last season, will travel to play Minnesota in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Tuesday Nov. 30 at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. The game is one of nine which matches nine of the 11 Atlantic Coast Conference teams against nine of 11 Big Ten teams in a battle for conference supremacy and the Commissioner's Cup with the ACC looking for its sixth consecutive win in the series.
Florida State and Minnesota have met five times in their histories with the Gophers holding a 3-2 advantage. Florida State won its first ever meeting against the Gophers in the second round the 1972 NCAA Tournament in a win that helped the Seminoles advance in the tournament where it later met UCLA in the national championship game. Florida State and Minnesota have met once previously in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge with the Gophers defeating the Seminoles, 76-71, in a game played at the Leon County Civic Center in Tallahassee.
Florida State has a 3-2 record in five appearances in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and defeated Northwestern, 71-53, during the 2003 challenge. The Seminoles defeated Northwestern during the 1999 challenge and Iowa during the 2002 challenge. Florida State is undefeated, 2-0, under Head Coach Leonard Hamilton in the challenge.
Led by All-ACC Freshmen Team selection Alexander Johnson, Florida State returns four of its top five scorers and three of its top five rebounders from the winningest Seminole team since 1998. Johnson averaged 9.5 points and 4.2 rebounds and ranked among the top three newcomers in the ACC in both categories. Adam Waleskowski, Florida State's leader in rebounding (5.4 rpg) and blocked shots (0.7 bpg), also returns for the Seminoles along with senior Anthony Richardson and sophomore Von Wafer. Richardson and Wafer ranked third and fourth on the team in scoring during the 2003-04 season.
Since 2000, the ACC and the Big 10 have combined to make 10 Final Four appearances and have captured three of the last five NCAA Championships. The ACC and Big Ten rank either first or second in all-time NCAA Tournament bids, victories and Final Four appearances. In addition, eight of the top 25 teams in last year's final ESPN/USA Today rankings will compete in the Challenge – No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Georgia Tech, No. 11 Illinois, No. 15 Wake Forest, No. 16 Wisconsin, No. 20 NC State, No. 22 North Carolina and No. 24 Maryland. Florida State was ranked No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today poll during the week of Dec. 29, 2003 and defeated four ranked teams during the season for the first time since the 1996-97 season.