CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS FLORIDA AND FLORIDA STATE TO PLAY IN 2014 METROPCS ORANGE BOWL BASKETBALL CLASSIC AT BB&T; CENTER
The 21st annual MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic will feature one of the most competitive fields ever as two teams in the final four in their respective college basketball post-season tournaments will face opponents from major conferences. The Florida Gators, the number one overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Men’s Division I Tournament will take on the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest out of the highly competitive Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The Florida State Seminoles, a number one seed in the 2014 National Invitational Tournament (NIT), will face in-state opponent the University of South Florida Bulls from the American Athletic Conference (AAC).
The 2014 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic will be held on Saturday, December 20 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL. This will mark the 10th consecutive year the Classic will be held at BB&T Center. 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 16th appearance in the Classic and have a 14-2 record all-time. They enter the Final Four on a school-record 30 game winning streak and have not suffered a loss since December 2. The SEC regular season and tournament champions went undefeated (21-0) in the conference and their only two losses all season (36-2) came against two fellow Final Four contestants. They finished the regular season ranked number one in the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls. This season marks the fourth consecutive year the Gators made it to the Elite Eight. If SEC Coach of the Year Billy Donovan and the Gators can get past the UConn Huskies (the last team to beat them) this weekend, it will mark the third time Florida will play in the national championship game in less than 10 years and the fourth time overall, all under Donovan.
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will make their first appearance in the Classic. They are coming off a 17-16 season which included big wins over Duke, North Carolina and NIT Final Four team, Clemson. A roster stacked with talented sophomores, Wake Forest’s young team received plenty of experience against some of the nation’s top teams this past season which should make for a great matchup against a high-caliber Florida team in December.
Florida State is back to make its sixth appearance. They are 5-1 all-time in Classic appearances. Last year, in the 20th annual MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, they handed the University of Massachusetts (#22) its first loss of the season in a closely contested game, 60-55. Last season, Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles also had big wins over VCU (#10), Clemson and Pittsburgh. Their resume helped them land an invitation and a number one seeding in the NIT, where they made it to the national semi-final, falling just one game short of the championship.
The University of South Florida Bulls will start a new regime under recently hired head coach Orlando Antigua. Currently assistant coach under John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats who are also in the Final Four this year, Antigua helped Kentucky win a national title in 2012. He is nationally recognized for being a premier recruiter, attracting future NBA talents to Kentucky including John Wall and Anthony Davis as well as current players Julius Randle and Aaron and Andrew Harrison. The Bulls’ biggest win in 2013-14 came against NIT finalist SMU.
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, The Miami Herald, Reese’s and Coca-Cola, the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic will be the only Division I basketball played in Broward County again next season.