The Daily Nole

FSU Basketball: Five Non-Conference Schedule Observations athletics

Florida State unveiled its non-conference schedule on Monday for the 2016-17 season as the Seminoles hope to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five seasons.

The schedule doesn’t have a true road game on it. Here’s some observations that come with the unveiling of the schedule:

1. Iona Will Be An Early Test for the Seminoles
Florida State should begin the season 1-0. The Seminoles open with Charleston Southern on Nov. 12, but the Noles would be ill-advised to sleep on Iona. The Gaels won 22 games a season ago en route to the MAAC Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament bid. Iona will be losing leading scorer A.J. English, but Jordan Washington and Deyshonee Much are both capable talents. The Seminoles have lost early in the season to mid-majors in each of the past two campaigns and Iona has a chance to run that streak to three. The teams will meet in Tallahassee on Nov. 15.

2. FSU Should End Its Skid in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Florida State has lost eight straight in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but should be able to snap that skid this time around as the Seminoles host a Minnesota team that went just 8-23 last season. The Golden Gophers were young a season ago and should be much-improved this season, but this contest is in Tallahassee. Interestingly enough, FSU’s last win in the challenge was over Minnesota. The teams will meet on Nov. 28.

3. George Washington is a Chance for a Signature Win
The Seminoles will take on George Washington in Washington D.C. on Dec. 4. The Colonels won 28 games and the NIT a season ago and return their leading scorer Tyler Cavanaugh — a Wake Forest transfer. George Washington has won at least 20 games in three straight seasons which includes an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014. George Washington defeated Virginia, Tennessee, Seton Hall, Virginia Commonwealth and Valaparaiso a season ago. FSU defeated VCU in the nation’s capital last season.

4. Mike White Makes His First Trip to Tallahassee
Florida head coach Mike White will make his first trip to Tallahassee on Dec. 11. The Seminoles have won two straight against the Gators with each win coming by two points and being decided in the final five seconds. Last season, it was Dwayne Bacon who propelled FSU to a 73-71 victory in Gainesville. Legendary Florida head coach Billy Donovan also lost his first game against the Seminoles, but he did win in his first trip to Tallahassee in November 1998.

5. FSU Has a Long Layoff Before ACC Play
Teams usually get an extended break around the holidays, but Florida State could have an exceptionally long break before the start of ACC play. The Seminoles close the out-of-conference schedule with a home contest against Samford. Last season, the Seminoles kicked off ACC play on Jan. 2. If FSU were to start ACC play at the same time this upcoming season, it would have two weeks off before doing so.

SCHEDULE (home games in caps)
Nov. 15 — IONA
Nov. 18 — NIT Tip-Off (TBA)
Nov. 20 — NIT Tip-Off (TBA)
Nov. 24 or 25 — NIT (Madison Square Garden)
Nov. 28 — MINNESOTA (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
Dec. 4 — George Washington (Washington D.C.)
Dec. 11 — FLORIDA
Dec. 17 — Manhattan (Orange Bowl Class, Sunrise, FL)
Dec. 19 — SAMFORD

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