Sunday March 18 9:40 p.m. EST on TBS
NCAA Basketball Spread: Florida State -2.5
Cincinnati and Florida State both had tests in their matchup on Friday, but both of them found their way into the Round of 32. The Bearcats built a huge early lead on Texas, but they had to hold on late to win. Florida State trailed most of the game before coming back to beat St. Bonaventure 66-63. Both of these teams are built around defense. Expect a hard fought game as these teams try to reach the Sweet Sixteen.
The Cincinnati Bearcats had an ugly start to the season. The Bearcats got into an ugly brawl with cross town rival Xavier, and it seemed like their season was going south in a hurry. As it turns out, Mick Cronin did a great job bringing this team together after the ugly brawl. The Bearcats finished fourth in the tough Big East Conference. The Bearcats do a great job taking care of the ball, largely because they have so many ball-handlers on the floor at all times. They allow just 61.1 points per game. Opponents shoot just 41% from the floor.
On the offensive end, the Bearcats are no better than average. This team goes through long slumps at times, and they don’t really have any tremendous three-point shooters. Four guys average double figures in scoring for this team. Sean Kilpatrick leads the group at 14.1 points per game. Yancy Gates averages 12.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He’ll need to have a big game in this one.
Florida State beat both Duke and North Carolina twice this year, so they are definitely a team with a very high upside. The Seminoles have been a little inconsistent, and that almost burned them in their opening game against St. Bonaventure. Michael Snaer had a rare terrible shooting game, but Bernard James picked up the team on Friday. James had 19 points and 13 rebounds in their win over the Bonnies. Snaer finished 0 for 7 from the floor for zero points. He leads the team in scoring on the season at 14.1 points per game. Luke Loucks and Deividas Dulkys are solid in the backcourt for the Seminoles. Okaro White is an athletic post player who came up with a huge offensive rebound at the end of their win Friday. Ian Miller is the team’s sixth man, and he is their second leading scorer.
It is the Seminoles terrific half court defense that has made them such a strong team. Opponents shoot just 38.1% from the floor against Florida State. Bernard James averages 2.3 blocks per game. His length in the post makes this defense much better. Eight Seminoles players have at least 19 steals on the year, so this is clearly an aggressive defense.
The defenses should rule in this one. Look for a half court game here. Florida State has the better defense, so I lean to the Seminoles here.
Free College Basketball Pick: Florida State -2.5
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