Miami Lakes, FL (www.orangebowl.org) – The annual MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic will again feature a top-tier doubleheader for the 19th edition of the Classic. Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators, fresh off an Elite Eight run in last season’s NCAA Tournament will face the Air Force Falcons while the defending ACC Champion Florida State Seminoles under head coach Leonard Hamilton will take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane led by first-time head coach Danny Manning.
The 2012 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic will be held on December 29 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL. Florida State and Tulsa will play in the first game of the doubleheader, followed by Florida and Air Force. Game times will be announced at a later date.
For ticket information please contact the Orange Bowl ticket sales office at (305) 341-4701 or visit www.orangebowl.org.
The Florida Gators will be making their 14th appearance in the Classic and are led by South Florida native Kenny Boynton. The American Heritage (Plantation) prep star led the Gators in scoring last season (15.9 ppg) and was named the MVP of the 2011 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic as he led the Gators to a 84-64 victory over Texas A&M. Boynton and the Gators finished last season with a 26-11 record that included an Elite Eight appearance.
Air Force finished last season with a 13-16 record and return leading scorers Michael Lyons (15.6 ppg) and Mike Fitzgerald (10.4 ppg). Head Coach Dave Pilipovich enters his first full season as head coach after being named to the position on March 3, 2012. The Falcons, who are making their MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic debut, posted a 10-5 non-conference record last season.
Florida State enters the 2012-13 season as the defending ACC Champions. The Seminoles return four of their top five scorers from last season, including leading scorer Michael Snaer (14.0 ppg) and third leading scorer Ian Miller (10.3 ppg). Led by Head Coach Leonard Hamilton, Florida State finished last season with a 25-10 record as Hamilton was named ACC Coach of the Year for a second time in the past four seasons. The Seminoles are making their fourth Classic appearance.
Tulsa is led by first time head coach Danny Manning. One of college basketball’s all-time greats, Manning was named head coach on March 29, 2012 after spending the previous nine seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Kansas. He was part of two national championship teams at Kansas, leading the Jayhawks to the 1987-88 championship as the National Player of the Year, and assisting Head Coach Bill Self with the 2007-08 national champions. Tulsa finished last season with a 17-14 record and are making their MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic debut. The Hurricane returns its second leading scorer in Scottie Haralson (11.1 ppg) and assist leader Tim Peete (5.3 ppg, 2.2 apg).
With assistance from title sponsor MetroPCS and associate sponsors BB&T Center, FSFlorida / Sun Sports, Sports Authority, Sunshine State Health Plan and The Miami Herald, the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic will be the only Division I basketball played in Broward County again next season.