The Gonzaga Bulldogs and Florida State Seminoles meet up for a Sweet 16 matchup in the NCAA tournament. Both teams have lived up to most analysts predictions with the exception of Vermont pushing Florida State to the limit in the first round. FSU was able to bounce back with a dominant showing over a dangerous Murray State squad and their first-round hiccup looks to be a fluke.
Gonzaga has steamrolled both Farliegh Dickinson and Baylor so far and is living up to their number one seed. Florida State will by far be their toughest opponent yet but Gonzaga has a dynamic offensive attack that poses a tough stylistic matchup for most teams in the nation.
#1 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs #4 Florida State Seminoles Betting Line
(Betting Line & Total courtesy of Oddsshark.com)
Betting Line/Point Total
- Gonzaga vs Florida State
- Thursday, March 28th – 7:09 pm ET
- Point Spread: Gonzaga Bulldogs (-7.5)
- Point Total: 147
Gonzaga vs Florida State NCAA Tournament Projection & Picks
Gonzaga has utterly manhandled opponents all season with an average scoring differential of 14 points. However, despite beating a fully healthy Duke early in the year, they dropped their only two other games to ranked opponents (UNC and Tennessee) and mostly feasted on the weak WCC competition. Furthermore, Gonzaga would drop the WCC championship game to St. Mary’s and exposed a chink in their armor by playing suffocating defense and closing out well on three-pointers, holding Gonzaga to just 2-17 from behind the arc en route to holding the Bulldogs to just 47 points.
All that said, Gonzaga is still one of the best offensive teams in the nation and can almost certainly be counted on to go out and get their buckets led by the trio of Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke, and Zach Norvell Jr. Even in their two ranked losses to UNC and Tennessee, Gonzaga was able to effectively score the ball and didn’t seem to slow down all that much against elite competition. While neither UNC or Tennessee is an elite defensive team, Florida State is a long, fast, and athletic defensive unit that should make for an interesting matchup against Gonzaga.
Speaking of Florida State, outside of a rough midseason stretch in ACC play, they have been one of the most dominant teams in the NCAA. While the lack the offensive star power that Gonzaga offers, Mfiondu Kabengele gives them a versatile stretch big that can effectively protect the rim to go alongside veteran playmaker Terrance Mann. Christ Koumadje also sees some minutes for the Seminoles and despite playing a limited role, the 7’4″ monster is adept at protecting the rim and bringing down rebounds.
Gonzaga is chock-full of shooters and will likely be firing from deep but it will be interesting to see how the long and rangy FSU defense is able to close out and contest those shots. Gonzaga could very easily catch fire and run away with the game as Florida State just doesn’t have the offensive firepower to go toe to toe but the more likely situation is that this game is a close hard-fought and low-scoring affair. Given that Gonzaga has the ability to go off, I would advise staying away from the point total and instead to look at Florida State with the points.
Even considering that Phil Cofer will be unable to go in the Sweet 16, the only teams Gonzaga hasn’t beaten by double digits have been ranked opponents and Florida State fits that bill. Gonzaga will likely win but expect this game to be much closer than the 7.5 point spread indicates as FSU is an incredibly deep team that should rise to the occasion and will be playing for Cofer.
Pick: Florida State (+7.5)