|FSU puts perfect mark on line vs. Oklahoma St.|
And then there were six.
The No. 19 Florida State men's basketball team is one of just six unbeaten NCAA Division I programs remaining in the country, and that 9-0 record will be put to the test Saturday in a duel with Oklahoma State (7-2) in the opener of the annual Orange Bowl Classic at Sunrise, Fla.
The other five programs sporting matching perfect records are No. 1 Villanova (11-0), No. 5 Arizona State (9-0), No. 6 Miami (8-0), No. 14 TCU (10-0) and Georgetown (8-0), which isn't ranked after playing the easiest non-conference schedule in the nation thus far.
The Seminoles handled business easily last time out against Tulane with a 72-53 rout in Tallahassee -- a victory that extended Florida State's home winning streak to 25 games dating back to the 2015-16 season. The Seminoles are beating opponents by an average of 20 points during their fast start, led by guard Terance Mann, who is average 15.6 points.
The 9-0 start is also historic: Only one Florida State team has had a better beginning to the season -- the 2003-04 team, which went 10-0 before losing a game.
Florida State can tie that mark with a win Saturday against the Cowboys, who once employed Seminoles head coach Leonard Hamilton in the same role.
"I enjoyed my four years there in Stillwater," Hamilton, who spent four seasons as Oklahoma State's head coach from 1987-91, told Florida State's official athletic site, Seminoles.com. "We gained a lot of experience. I thought that we made progress in the program. It was a very important and meaningful part of my life and my coaching career, and I'm very appreciative to have had that opportunity. But it will be a business trip for me. I won't be reminiscing about the good old days, and I'm sure they won't either."
Oklahoma State certainly won't.
The Cowboys are looking for a morale boost and a win after having a tough week following the dismissal of two players -- junior guard Davon Dillard and freshman guard Zack Dawson --- from the team Wednesday. Head coach Mike Boynton said both players "failed to meet unspecified standards set by the program."
Boynton added that he could not "make compromises in our core values when it comes to individual players." Both players had actually already been suspended prior to the season for unknown reasons, missing a total of six games between the two of them.
"Being a part of Cowboy basketball has always and will always be an honor and a privilege," Boynton told The Oklahoman. "With that privilege comes great responsibilities and standards. Davon and Zack have failed to meet those standards and at this point it is necessary to move in a different direction. We wish both of them all the best as they continue their academic and athletic careers."
Oklahoma State enters the game after a loss in its last outing to No. 6 Wichita State 78-66. Before that, the Cowboys had won four straight games, and their only other defeat came against No. 16 Texas A&M on Nov. 20.
The Cowboys are led by guard Jeffrey Carroll with 12.7 points per game. Oklahoma State is also expecting to have 6-foot-11 forward Yankuba Sima, a transfer from St. John's, eligible and playing for the first time this season.
Florida State's game against Oklahoma State marks only the second time in history the schools have met. The teams squared off in 1964, with Oklahoma State winning 60-56.
Florida State will wear turquoise Nike N7 uniforms against Oklahoma State to raise awareness for bringing sport to Native American and Aboriginal youth. It marks the 10th time (and second of two times this season) the Seminoles will wear the special uniforms. The Seminoles first wore the turquoise uniforms in their 89-61 win over UT-Martin in Tallahassee on Nov. 17, 2013.
"The Seminole Tribe of Florida approached us about this program, and we are honored and excited to wear these unique uniforms," Hamilton said.