(3) Florida State vs. (14) St. Bonaventure Preview
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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(3) Florida State Seminoles
Two things that this Seminoles team is not lacking is experience and the ability to get stops defensively. They’re a deep team with six seniors who all see playing time and helped lead the program to their first ever ACC Tournament championship. They gave up just 62 points a night during the regular season, only allowing their opponents to shoot 37 percent from the field and 30 percent from the three-point line. They are not one of the top offensive teams in the tournament to say the least, but Michael Snaer and Ian Miller can get hot and go for 20 or more. They’re much better offensively when they work as a unit rather than settling for attacking in isolation. While they lost to two Ivy schools earlier in the year, they beat both North Carolina and Duke twice this year and are really rolling right now. The 16 turnovers they average as a team is the worst in the field and will have to be shored up.
(14) St. Bonaventure Bonnies
Despite a very respectable regular season, the Bonnies were in a position where winning the Atlantic-10 tournament was the only way they were going to make the NCAA Tournament. That’s exactly what they did and now they’re back in the big dance for the first time since 2000 and only the second time since 1978. They have senior forward/center Andrew Nicholson, one of the best players in school history, to thank. Nicholson played inspired basketball all season long, putting up 18 points, eight rebounds and nearly two blocks a game in his final year of eligibility as he gets prepped to be selected in the 2012 NBA Draft. He’s one of the premier big men in the tournament and someone who can carry them to victories. They don’t have much three-point shooting around him, which could be problematic if teams just completely look to take him away. If they do so, his teammates like Demitrius Conger and Da’Quan Cook are going to have to step up and answer the call. The Bonnies were 0-4 against the RPI Top 50 and need Nicholson to dominate in order to advance.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Florida State. The Bonnies are going to pose a serious challenge, but Florida State and their phenomenal defense will prevail.
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