Friday March 16 2:45 p.m. EST on CBS
NCAA Basketball Spread: Florida State -6
Most analysts believe the East Region is the toughest region from top to bottom. Florida State beat Duke and North Carolina twice this year, and they finished the season strong with an ACC Tournament Championship. St. Bonaventure wasn’t expected to be here, but they have one of the best players in the nation in Andrew Nicholson. Let’s take a closer look at this #3 vs. #14 matchup.
Andrew Nicholson is an absolute beast in the low post. He is a skilled big man who can score in just about any way. Nicholson averaged 18.4 points and 8.5 rebounds during the season. He has a feathery touch on his jump shot, but his biggest strength is his huge variety of low post moves. Nicholson shoots 58% from the floor. Simply put, the Bonnies wouldn’t be a very good team without Nicholson. Demetrius Conger is the team’s second leading scorer at 12.1 points per game. Conger is a 6’6 guard from Brooklyn who shoots 51% from the floor.
The Bonnies went 20-11 this year. They picked up big wins over Dayton and Xavier. Their worst loss of the season was a 58-52 loss at home against Arkansas State. Turnovers have been a problem for the Bonnies. This is a team that struggled with full court pressure throughout the season. Defensively, Nicholson is a very shot blocker, and the team allowed only 65 points per game.
Florida State was highly rated in the preseason, but they were inconsistent through the non-conference schedule. The Seminoles lost to both Princeton and Harvard. They put themselves back on the map with their 90-57 shellacking of the North Carolina Tar Heels in mid-January. A road win at Cameron Indoor Stadium showed the grit of this team. The true strength of this team is their defense. Florida State guards just about as well as anyone in the nation. Bernard James is a long forward who averages 2.3 blocks per game. Seven players on this team have at least 20 steals this year, so they are clearly aggressive on the defensive end. Opponents shoot just 38.1% against the Seminoles.
Michael Snaer is the offensive leader for Florida State. Snaer averages 14.5 points per game. He knocks down 42% of shots from beyond the arc. Ian Miller comes off the bench to spark the offense as well. Miller averages 10.9 points per game. The Seminoles are at their best when Bernard James is contributing in the low post. James averages 10.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. If Florida State can score consistently, they have a chance to make a deep run in the tournament.
Nicholson is a terrific player, but St. Bonaventure isn’t a deep team. The Seminoles are likely to make life tough on Nicholson, and force someone else to beat them. I like Florida State’s defense to win this one.
Free College Basketball Pick: Florida State -6
is full-timesports writer and sports handicapper. You simply won’t find someone who loves sports more than Kyle. Kyle considers college football and college basketball his two favorite sports. Kyle has earned many accolades for his highly successful handicapping, and he writes full-time for many top sports websites. Keep an eye out for high quality free sports analysis from Kyle!