3) Florida State vs. (14) St. Bonaventure: East Region
Florida State 24-9, 12-4 ACC (Conference Tournament Champions)
St. Bonaventure 20-11, 10-6 (Conference Tournament Champions)
Time: 2:45 p.m. Friday
Location: Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
Winner will face: (6) Cincinnati or (11) Texas, Sunday
Florida State No. 10 AP; No. 12 ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll
St. Bonaventure No. 38 AP
Florida State 10
St. Bonaventure 73
Line: Florida State -7 (O/U 131)
Players to Watch
Florida State: F Bernard James, 6-10 Sr. (10.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.3 bpg); G Michael Snaer, 6-5 Jr. (14.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.2 spg); G Ian Miller, 6-3 So. (10.9 ppg, 1.3 spg, 35.2% 3s). Snaer finished off a nice junior regular-season with 18 points on 7-of-13 from the floor in the Seminoles’ 85-82 championship game victory over North Carolina. Snaer, who was second-team All-ACC, led FSU in scoring and was second on the team in assists (66).
St. Bonaventure: F Andrew Nicholson, 6-9 Sr. (18.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 57.6% FG); F Demitrius Conger, 6-6 Jr. (12.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 50.6% FG); G Matthew Wright, 6-4 So. (7 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.5 rpg). Nicholson was a monster in the A-10 Tournament. He led the Bonnies to the league title with 70 points, 30 rebounds and 16 blocked shots during the 3-game run.
Why Each Team Dangerous
Florida State: The Seminoles are big and tough. They play solid – and sometimes spectacular – defense, both in the paint and on the perimeter. Opponents shoot just 38.1 percent against FSU (fifth in the nation) and 30.5 from the 3-point line 26th nationally). They also block 5.9 shots and average 7.6 steals per game. James, Xavier Gibson and Jon Kreft combine for 4.1 blocks between them. There are few – if any – better defenses in the country. FSU’s offense has also improved slightly. It averaged 70.3 points while shooting 45.8 percent from the floor.
St. Bonaventure: Nicholson is a game-changer. He completely dominated the A-10 Tournament. With him controlling the paint, St. Bona is capable of beating anyone on a given night. Behind Nicholson, Conger and Da”Quan Cook, the Bonnies are a fantastic rebounding team. They out-rebounded opponents by 5.8 this season and eight per game in league play.
Why Each Team is Vulnerable
Florida State: While the Seminoles offense has improved, it is still prone to draughts. Florida State is shooting just 35.3 percent from deep and just 70.3 from the foul line. Despite a great size advantage most nights, FSU out-rebounded its opponents by just 2.9 per game and allowed almost 12 offensive boards per game. That could be a big concern against Nicholson and the Bonnies.
St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies have struggled to hang on to the ball all season. They average 14.2 turnovers per game, 1.7 more than they force. They had double-digit turnovers in all but one game (nine in an overtime with over St. Joe’s) and had at least 12 errors 25 times. St. Bonaventure is far from explosive. It shoots just 34.1 percent from 3 and plays at a very slow pace. That could play right into the hands of the Seminoles.
The Bottom Line: Interesting matchup with Nicholson against FSU’s strong front line. The Seminoles defense should prevail, but seven points is too many in what should be a slow, low-scoring game.
The Pick: Florida State 64, St. Bonaventure 60
Greg Against the Spread This Season: 198-150-6 (Through Tuesday, March 14)