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Preview: FSU to Face Billikens in Orange Bowl Classic

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Florida State will look to continue its winning ways on the hardwood on Saturday as the Seminoles head to Sunrise, Florida to take on Saint Louis in the Orange Bowl Classic. The Seminoles had won in Sunrise in five straight seasons prior to a heartbreaking 71-70 loss to Oklahoma State last season.

Overall, FSU has won five straight and will look to start 11-1 after what will be its final game of the calendar year. Saint Louis is 8-3 on the season, but its three losses have come by a combined 11 points with the most recent being a 68-64 loss at No. 24 Houston on Sunday.

The Match-Up

Who: No. 11 Florida State Seminoles (11-1) vs. Saint Louis Billikens (8-3)
What: Orange Bowl Classic
When: Saturday, Dec. 22 at 2:30 p.m. EST (Fox Sports 2)
Where: BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida

Key Players

Terance Mann, G (Sr.):
 11.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 51% FG
Mfiondu Kabengele, F (So.): 12.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 49% FG
Trent Forrest, G (Jr.): 11.2 PPG, 3.7 APG, 2.4 SPG

For Saint Louis
Javon Bess, G (Sr.):
 15 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 SPG
Tramaine Isabell Jr., G (Sr.): 12.3 PPG, 2.6 APG, 1.6 SPG
Jordan Goodwin, G (So.): 10.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3 APG

What to Watch For

The battle on the glass: Despite a significant size advantage, FSU was just +2 on the glass against a North Florida team that struggles in that department on Wednesday night. Phil Cofer’s status for Saturday is unknown, but the Seminoles have good size with Christ Koumadje, a 7-foot-4 center, 6-10 Mfiondu Kabengele and 6-8 RaiQuan Gray. Carte’Are Gordon is the only player taller than 6-8 for the Billkiens who sees minutes, but they do hold an average rebounding margin of +5.3 over opponents. Javon Bess is a very good rebounding guard.

Mfiondu Kabengele: Florida State redshirt sophomore forward Mfiondu Kabengele is coming off a career-high 24 points his last time out and seems to become more polished for FSU with each passing game. Kabengle can play inside or out and has scored in double-figures in eight of 11 games this season. Kabenegle currently leads the team in scoring at 12.4 points per game.

Foul shooting: Although it hasn’t been the case in recent years, Florida State has become a very good free throw shooting group. As a team, the Seminoles shoot 76 percent from the charity stripe this season and were 12-for-13 last time out. FSU ranks third in the ACC in that statistic and in the top 35 nationally. Saint Louis, on the other hand, shoots just 58 percent as a team from the line. Javon Bess and Tramaine Isabell are currently the only two Billikens shooting better than 55 percent from the stripe. As a team, Saint Louis ranks 351st nationally out of 353 teams. Only Rider and Manhattan shoot worse.

Number to Pay Attention To

11-1: With a win, Florida State would stand at 11-1 through 12 games for a third straight season. Never in program history has FSU had a better 12-game start.

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