No. 9 Florida State Seminoles vs. No. 1 Xavier Musketeers
Florida State takes on No. 1 seed Xavier from Nashville. The Seminoles got past No. 8 Missouri with relative ease, winning 67-54 on Friday night. Xavier struggled early against No. 16 Texas Southern, and then poured it, winning 102-83.
FSU shuts down Porter brothers
Florida State under Leonard Hamilton is known for their size and length. When you have a 7-4 Christ Koumadje manning the middle, it makes it tough to score in the paint. But it was Mfiondu Kabengele (6-9, 235) who made some noise against 6-10 Michael and 6-11 Jontay Porter on Friday night. He scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and help hold Jontay to just 2 points and Michael to 16 on 4-of-12 shooting. P.J. Savoy added 12 points, while Phil Cofer scored 11 for the Seminoles. FSU controlled this game the entire way, as Mizzou never got closer than six in the second half. The Tigers spent so much time coming back from a 22-point halftime deficit, that they appeared to wear out during their comeback and the Tigers went on a 15-0 run to seal the game.
Defensively, FSU was sensational, holding Missouri to just 32.7 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers. Cofer leads the Seminoles with 13.1 points per game while guard Terance Mann leads in assists (4.1), rebounds (5.6) and field goal percentage (55.9%). They allow 73.9 points per game on 41.8 percent shooting and 36.3 percent 3-point shooting.
Macura steps up for Xavier
J.P. Macura scored 18 of his career-high 29 points in the first half as Xavier built up a 12-point first-half lead and rolled in the second half over No. 16 Texas Southern. This was not a pretty effort as the Musketeers turned it over 13 times and shot just 21-of-32 from the line (65.6%). They did outrebound the Tigers by 10 and shot 54.7 percent from the field and 11-of-24 from beyond the arc (45.8%). Trevon Bluiett added 26 points on 7-of-17 shooting, while Kerem Kanter chipped in with a career-tying 24 points and five rebounds on 11-of-15 shooting.
Bluiett leads the Musketeers with 19.6 points per game and 5.6 rebounds. Macura adds 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 49 steals. Xavier averages 84.8 points per game to rank eighth in the nation and shoots 49.3 percent from the field (37.2 3pt). They allow 74.7 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting (33.3% 3pt).
Florida State is:
- 1-5 ATS last 6 NCAA Tournament games.
- 0-5 ATS last 5 after a SU win.
- 20-7-1 ATS last 28 neutral site games.
- 24-6-2 ATS last 32 NCAA Tournament games.
Xavier has some great guards in Bluiett and Macura. They just have a quality all-around team with great shooters and they can kill you in transition. FSU’s defense isn’t great on the perimeter and they are inconsistent shooters. Expect the Musketeers to pull out the cover late in the second half.
This should be a fun game because neither team likes to “Virginia” the pace. In other words, nobody is slowing this thing down because they are scared of the other team. Xavier can put up 90 points when they are on and the put up 102 in just an average performance against Texas Southern. FSU is 8-3 Over their last 11 after a SU win. Xavier is 10-4 Over their last 14 non-conference games.