Florida State looks to remain perfect against Loyola Marymount when the teams meet on a neutral court in the opening round of the Jacksonville Classic on Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla.
The Seminoles (2-1) have never lost to the Lions (2-1), having swept a home-and-home series 77-61 and 74-63 in 2010 and 2011.
The winner of their first head-to-head matchup in 10 years will advance on Monday to face the winner of another opening-round game Sunday between Missouri and SMU. The losers also will duel.
Florida State began the season ranked 20th in the initial Associated Press poll and impressed in a 105-70 home win over Pennsylvania.
But the Seminoles have slipped since, first losing 71-55 at Florida before returning home and edging Tulane 59-54.
Florida State, which has averaged 24 wins and made three trips to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 over the past six seasons, is attempting to chart a new course this season without standout Scottie Barnes, a lottery pick in the last NBA draft.
"We're in a development stage right now, and that's understandable," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We've always had a deep rotation, but never this many guys that need to be consistent for us to be successful. There is some indecision right now and that's what happens when you have a lot of first-year players. We'll work our way out of it."
Malik Osborne, FSU's sixth-leading scorer and fourth-leading rebounder last season, has been the most productive of the Seminoles so far this year, averaging 15.0 points and 9.7 rebounds.
The Seminoles will be catching a Loyola Marymount team on the rise. The Lions lost their opener 75-64 at home to Chattanooga, but have rebounded to beat Arizona Christian 74-67 and Little Rock 82-63.
Joe Quintana paced the two wins with 26 and 25 points, respectively.
Former Marquette assistant Stan Johnson believes he has the Loyola Marymount program headed in the right direction after inheriting a roster that went 11-21 in 2019-20 and forging a winning record (13-9) in his first season.
"Our culture worked," he said. "We won games because of the culture we established, not because we were just that much more talented than anybody else."
--Field Level Media