This may not be the most exciting Game of the Sweet 16, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to win money from it. Florida State knocked off a 1-seed last round and will have to upset another team to move onto the Elite 8. Gonzaga was an early -5.5 point favorite at 5Dimes Sportsbook for the Game in Los Angeles.
The Seminoles made an improbable comeback against Xavier last round to be in this spot. They were outplayed most of the way, yet managed to grab a lead with a couple minutes left and never give it up. Similar to how it’s been all season, it was a great team effort mainly because a lot of its bench players outplayed the starters.
It was a little different for Gonzaga, which escaped UNC Greensboro in the opening round and then disposed of Ohio State after the Buckeyes made numerous attempts to steal a win despite being down most of the Game. The Bulldogs showed their depth in that win and that will be a key going forward.
There aren’t many outliers between these teams in terms of matchups, but Gonzaga’s ability to rebound on both ends of the floor could play a huge factor. The Bulldogs are a solid offensive rebounding team, while the Seminoles are the opposite defensively. FSU’s inability to defend the three-point line could also be a problem even though Xavier didn’t take advantage of that with only 13 attempted threes.
There isn’t a main player that sticks out for the Seminoles, which is a main reason they’ve hidden from the spotlight all season. They have three guys that average more than 8.1 points per Game, but nine guys that average more than 6.5. That depth is the main reason they won against Xavier as they had Four guys off the bench combine for 43 points and that was the difference. That said, a couple of those guys usually start so some of that can be attributed to Leonard Hamilton’s interesting coaching. Christ Koumadje is a regular starter, yet has played just 41 minutes total in the last Four Games.
The Seminoles have a lot of guys that shoot from distance, but none of them are all that consistent with Phil Cofer the best at 38.8%. He’s a stretch Four that can cause matchup problems for most teams, although maybe not against Gonzaga with Killian Tillie and Rui Hachimura the likely matchups. Similar to that Xavier win, guys will just have to step up for FSU, whether it’s Braian Angola doing a little bit of everything, Trent Forrest creating off the dribble, or PJ Savoy hitting key threes. It’s truly been a toss up of what to expect from these players most of the season.
As for the favorite, Gonzaga can also get scoring from multiple positions with six guys averaging at least 9.3 points per Game. Ohio State got a good dose of that over the weekend as freshman Zach Norvell exploded for 28 points and Hachimura came off the bench for 25 points in 25 minutes. Most interesting about that was Gonzaga scored 90 points even though guys like Josh Perkins, Tillie and Johnathan Williams didn’t do much in terms of scoring.
Florida State will have an issue with that. Williams will be a problem on the boards and the combination of Norvell, Perkins and Silas Melson will be hard to deal with in the backcOurt. Throw in Hachimura off the bench, a guy that can do a little bit of everything at 6-foot-8, and that’s trouble.
Still, the Seminoles have been underrated all Tournament and just held Trevon Bluiett to eight points last Game. If that defense shows up against Gonzaga, anything can happen. But at the end of the day, the Zags appear to have more talent and more offensive weapons and that will be hard to overcome for FSU again.
Our Pick – Florida State +5.5