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Florida State vs Gonzaga Picks – The Zags Will Zig Past The Seminoles

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/16/2010 2:15:31 PM

Online betting knows few occasions more unreliable than the dreaded 8-9 game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In an event where seedings are often viewed to be inexact, it makes sense that two teams with a seed differential of just one notch would play very unpredictable games. In some years, nine seeds seem to hold the upper hand, while in other tournaments, it’s the eight seeds that hold sway. How should you approach this tilt between eighth-seeded Gonzaga and ninth-seeded Florida State in the first round of the West Region? It might be easier than you think.

  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Friday, March 19th – 7:10 PM ET
  • Where: HSBC Arena – Buffalo, NY
  • Key Stat: Florida State commits an average of 17 turnovers per game

The Florida State-Gonzaga Storyline

Of the four 8-9 games in this year’s NCAA Tournament, this game is the easiest to pick. Texas and Wake Forest are two very unintelligent teams who cannot be deciphered, let alone trusted. California and Louisville are erratic and in many ways unproven. Northern Iowa and UNLV are two sound and underappreciated squads who should play a high-level first-round game, but a close one at that. It’s only in this particular 8-9 game that the given matchup suggests a somewhat comfortable victory for one team.

The sportsbook odds often fail to mesh with popular sentiment and opinion, but in this case they do. Gonzaga, weirdly enough, is much more of a brand name in college basketball than Florida State. Even though the Zags come from a small conference in the Northwest corner of the country, people around America are much more cognizant of this team during March Madness than FSU. It’s true that coach Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles hail from the Atlantic Coast Conference, but when the calendar hits March, coach Mark Few’s Bulldogs garner a lot more nationwide publicity and buzz. Common folk are likely inclined to tab Gonzaga in this game, and for once, the masses have the right idea.

It’s going to be very hard for Florida State to win this game. Yes, the Seminoles are one of the best teams in the nation as far as field goal percentage defense is concerned. FSU allows an average of just 60 points per game, and has held 67 consecutive opponents under 50 percent from the field, a rather astounding statistic in the college game. Why is Florida State not favored to win this game, then? It’s because the Noles, for all their defensive prowess, suffer at the offensive end of the floor. We’ll explore this in the matchup keys below.

Offensive Matchups

FSU’s offense, as mentioned in the key stat above, commits an average of 17 turnovers per game (rounded up from 16.8). The Noles have also failed to score 70 points or more in seven of their last eight contests, with the only exception coming against a North Carolina team that gave up on its season a long time ago. FSU wins with its defense, and nothing else.

This is bad news against an opponent such as Gonzaga. The Bulldogs score 77.6 points per game and have a balanced, diversified attack. Point guard Demetri Goodson can penetrate on the dribble, while big man Robert Sacre has a nice half-hook that he uses within six feet of the basket. Wings Steven Gray and Matt Bouldin can score from anywhere on the floor, and Bouldin is able to get to the foul line by putting the ball on the floor. You need to be able to score the ball to beat Gonzaga and get the West Coast Conference regular-season champions off balance. Florida State’s offense is manifestly unequipped to do that. Huge edge to the Zags here.

Betting Edge: Gonzaga

Defensive Matchupss

Sports betting fans know that Florida State has one of the very best defenses in the United States.  From 7-foot-1 space-eater Solomon Alabi to long forwards Ryan Reid and Chris Singleton, FSU has ample size on defense and contests a lot of shots within 10-12 feet of the basket. Guards Derwin Kitchen and Michael Snaer are very quick and do a great job on their perimeter switches and rotations. It would be absurd to suggest that the Zags are in the same league as the Seminoles when it comes to playing defense.

Betting Edge: Florida State

Injuries

There are no significant injuries for either team.

Betting Edge: Even

Betting Prediction: Florida State vs Gonzaga Picks

The simple story is this: Even if FSU slows down Gonzaga, the Bulldogs are likely to score in the high 50s or low 60s. When one realizes that the Seminoles have averaged just 53.5 points in their last four games, it becomes very hard to pick Florida State. Gonzaga can struggle and still win this game by six or seven points. If the Zags find any consistency on offense, this will become a blowout.

WASHINGTON’S Pick: Gonzaga

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