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Louisville

vs.

Florida State

College Basketball Pick

1/21/17

It's yet another top-25 opponent for Florida State, which makes it six straight for the Seminoles. That's a crazy number but something not all that surprising considering the talent in the conference. The Seminoles have shown they are for real, but still have plenty of ways to go as a three-game road trip waits at the end of the month.

As for Louisville, it's been a bit more favorable, although they lost their first two ACC games against Virginia and at Notre Dame. From there, their hardest test was beating a short-handed Duke team and going forward, they don't have to play a ranked team in consecutive games the rest of the way (according to current rankings). This could turn out to be one of their more difficult games this season outside of a late trip to North Carolina.

Louisville dominated this meeting last year mainly because Florida State wasn't ready for the pressure. The Seminoles turned it over 16 times and Dwayne Bacon was just 4-of-17 from the floor. Now with a deeper team and more experienced Bacon, this one should go a different way. When going against the Cardinals, the main thing you can't do is turn it over, and so far, FSU hasn't had a huge problem holding onto the ball. Xavier Rathan-Mayes had five turnovers in the loss to UNC, but only three total in the four games before that. If Rathan-Mayes turns it over in this game, it could be another loss like that UNC game. The same goes for Terance Mann and even Bacon.

That said, the Louisville pressure is less effective on the road, so that's at least a start for the 'Noles. The other factor is how Bacon deals with the size and length of the Louisville defenders. He'll likely see a lot of Deng Adel and Ray Spalding, and while Bacon has the ability, he struggled against this length last year.

The key for the Seminoles will be keeping an inconsistent Louisville offense in check, which should be more than possible. Florida State has size at every position and while that hasn't translated in the numbers, most of that has to do with a difficult ACC schedule. Against one of the worst shooting teams in the conference, FSU's length at guard and down low can be an issue for the Cardinals.

But the difference for Louisville could be the play of Anas Mahmoud, who was recently inserted into the starting lineup. Mahmoud gives them a long shot blocker that came alive offensively against Duke last weekend, dropping 17 points. The question will be if Michael Ojo or Jonathan Isaac can match what Mahmoud and Ray Spalding do. Isaac is FSU's second-leading scorer, but could have some trouble going against Mahmoud.

As long as the Seminoles don't have an issue with turnovers, they should either be winning or have this game close for most of the way. Playing at home should give them a big enough edge to beat a good Louisville team that has struggled to find any offensive consistency against halfway decent defenses.

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