Tampa Bay Sports Day

USF Bulls to Face Florida State in Orange Bowl Basketball Classic

MIAMI LAKES – The USF men’s basketball team continues to strengthen its 2019-20 non-conference schedule by adding a matchup against in-state rival Florida State on Saturday, Dec. 21 in the 26th annual Metro by T-Mobile Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

Ticket prices for the doubleheader begin at $20. To purchase tickets, contact the Orange Bowl ticket sales office at (305) 341-4701 or email tickets@orangebowl.org. Florida will face Utah State in the event as well, with game times to be announced at a later date.

USF won a school-record 24 games last season and featured the top turnaround in the NCAA by winning 14 more games than in 2017-18. In addition, the Bulls captured the 2019 College Basketball Invitational championship to claim the program’s first postseason championship since 1990. USF enters the season with all five starters back and a total of 92.4 percent of its scoring and 94.6 percent of its rebounding returning.

“This is one of the top holiday tournaments in the country and we’re thrilled to be a part of it this season,” USF head coach Brian Gregory said. “We’ve put an emphasis on building a strong non-conference schedule this season and we feel like this we’ve accomplished that by playing a perennial NCAA Tournament team in Florida State. We also felt like this was a game that would be attractive to our fans because it’s close enough to drive and we’re playing an in-state opponent.”

Last season, guard Laquincy Rideau earned AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors after pacing the league with 2.9 steals per game. Rideau registered 101 steals and finished the year with the fourth-most of any player in the NCAA and the most single-season steals in conference history. He also led the league with 5.4 assists per game and became the first player in league history to pace The American in both steals in assists. Additionally, Rideau was one of only three players in the NCAA with 100 assists and 100 steals. He also scored 13.4 points per game and was selected to the All-AAC Third Team.

Forward Alexis Yetna was tabbed the 2019 American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year after finishing the season tops in the league in rebounding with 9.6 per game and pulling down a single-season league record 346 boards. Yetna also added 12.3 points per game and paced the conference with 15 double-doubles.

Fellow guard David Collins  was also tabbed All-AAC Third Team after leading USF and ranking 12th in The American in scoring with 15.9 points per game. Collins poured in 587 points last season to finish with the ninth-most points scored in a single season in league history. He also made 206 free throws to record the second-most in conference history. In addition, Collins was fourth in The American with 2.1 steals per game and was named the CBI MVP.

Florida State returns to the Classic for the 11th time (8-2 record) after reaching the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament and a No. 10 finish in the final Associated Press poll of the 2018-19 season. The Seminoles broke school records for wins (29) and ACC wins (13) en route to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Florida State returns two of its starters from last year including senior guard Trent Forrest (9.3 PPG) and junior guard M.J. Walker (7.5 PPG) in addition to securing a top-20 recruiting class.

Season ticket deposits are now available for the 2019-20 season. By placing a $50 deposit per seat for season tickets, fans will be able to select their seats in advance. Season tickets are available starting at less than $6 per game. Fans also have the opportunity to select their seats earlier than the general public by becoming season ticket members. Season ticket deposits may be purchased at USFBullsTix.com or by calling 1-800-GO-BULLS.