CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern embarks on its 2016-17 season Saturday at Florida State. Tipoff at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla., is slated for 1 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra, available on ESPN3. Fans can also listen to audio coverage, with the pregame show starting at 12:45.
The contest marks the fourth straight year and fifth time in six years that the Bucs and Seminoles meet. CSU challenged Florida State in a 75-64 loss last December, the latest in a string of competitive losses to the ACC power. The Bucs fell by 11 and eight in the prior two matchups.
More important than the opponent is how CSU will perform as it blends a roster of five returners with seven newcomers (eight, counting redshirt freshman Antwan Maxwell). Barclay Radebaugh, the program's all-time winningest coach and two-time Big South Coach of the Year, is eager to see his group compete in a game that counts.
"We had the summer (with the Canadian tour in August) so it feels like it's been a long time preparing for this," Radebaugh said. "They're really anxious to play an opponent that doesn't have doesn't have a reverse jersey that says CSU Basketball on it. We've had a lot of success between Toronto and our scrimmages but this one's for real. We need to just play and continue to develop our chemistry and continue to grow as a team."
Florida State won 20 games and advanced to the second round of the NIT a year ago. The Seminoles fell off from their perennial defensive prowess but were more explosive offensively behind the guard trio of Dwayne Bacon, Malik Beasley and Xavier Rathan-Mayes. Beasley moved on to the NBA but Bacon – FSU's leading scorer and All-ACC Freshman Team member – and Rathan-Mayes – a two-year-starter – are back. Combating the 'Noles size also presents a significant test for the Bucs. Leonard Hamilton's club features two seven-footers and seven players standing 6'7" or taller.
"Their sheer size is a big challenge," Radebaugh said. "They're just so long and that's been their history for a long time that they've always recruited the long athlete. That's something we can't simulate in practice but we've gone down there and played well before. We're just excited to play and see what our guys can do."
CSU IN OPENERS - The Bucs are 14-36 all-time in season openers and 4-7 under Radebaugh. CSU has played seven power conference foes on opening night during Radebaugh's tenure. Last year, Radebaugh's group opened the year with three power conference opponents in a span of eight days. The Bucs fell to No. 10/11 Wichita State and then lost to Stanford and Arkansas. The latter two games were part of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
POTTER NAMED PRESEASON ALL-BIG SOUTH - Armel Potter was picked to the Big South Preseason All-Conference Second-Team in October. Potter led all Big South freshmen in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio last year, while ranking second in scoring. He led CSU in nearly every major statistical category outside of rebounding. Potter posted five 20-point games and 21 double figure efforts. He is the first Buc to receive preseason recognition since Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper in 2014-15.
CANADIAN TOUR A SUCCESS - Charleston Southern went a perfect 3-0 on its summer tour of Canada, defeating Windsor University and Humber College convincingly before edging the University of Toronto in a tight contest. Toronto defeated UNLV shortly after the Bucs handed them a defeat on their home floor. NCAA rules allow for a foreign tour once every four years. CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh previously took teams to Poland (2008) and the Dominican Republic (2012).