Florida and Florida State Return to Headline 2015 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic
The 22nd annual MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic will once again feature the Florida (UF) Gators and Florida State (FSU) Seminoles hosting the Oklahoma State (OSU) Cowboys and Florida Atlantic (FAU) Owls, respectively, on December 19 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. Game times will be announced at a later date.
The Gators, whose coach Mike White will make his first south Florida appearance with the Gators, will host Oklahoma State, which has played in 27 NCAA Tournaments overall, including the last three. The teams last played in the Elite Eight of the 2000 NCAA Tournament, when the Gators won to move on to the Final Four. The Seminoles, who have been ranked as high as No. 21 in pre-season polls, will take on in-state rival FAU, which is on the rise with second year coach Michael Curry and most of last year’s team returning.
For ticket information please contact the Orange Bowl ticket sales office at (305) 341-4701 or visit www.orangebowl.org. For group ticket information fans are encouraged to contact BB&T Center ticket box office at 954-835-7000.
The Florida Gators will be making their 17th appearance in the Classic and have a 14-2 record all-time. The Gators have a new coach in Michael White, who was highly successful at Louisiana Tech winning 101 games in four years, including 27, 29 and 27 the last three years. White promises to continue to play up-tempo basketball which has been a trademark of the Gators. Florida returns three of its top four scorers from a year ago, including Dorian Finney-Smith, who was both the leading scorer and rebounder.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys out of the Big 12 Conference are making their first appearance in the Classic. They are coming off an 18-13 season which included an appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season and big wins over top 10 RPI conference foes Baylor (twice) and Kansas. Second leading scorer Phil Forte III returns for his senior season to lead Travis Ford’s squad.
Florida State is back to make its seventh appearance (5-1 record) in the Classic. The ‘Noles return all five starters, including 87% of their scoring and 89% of their rebounding from a year ago, and have been ranked 21st by The Sporting News and 25th by both USA Today and CBSSports.com in pre-season polls. Coach Leonard Hamilton has led FSU to postseason tournament play in 9 of the last 10 seasons.
Florida Atlantic is making its third appearance in the Classic, having lost to Miami in 2009 and in double overtime in 2011. The Owls are under second-year coach Michael Curry, a veteran of 11 seasons as a player in the NBA, four as an assistant coach, and a head coaching stint with the Detroit Pistons in 2008-09, when he led the Pistons to the playoffs. FAU returns 74% of its scoring from last season, including the top three scorers and five of its top six.
With assistance from title sponsor MetroPCS and associate sponsors BB&T Center, FOX Sports Florida / Sun Sports, Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, Sports Authority, Sunshine Health and The Miami Herald, the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic will be the only Division I basketball played in Broward County again next season.
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