NoleGameday

Florida State’s Revenge Tour Marches On

AP

A year ago, Xavier ended Florida State’s season in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Late Sunday night, it seemed like history would repeat itself. With less than 10 minutes to play, the Seminoles found themselves trailing by double digits just as they did last year. In fact, with 9:07 left on the clock, Xavier’s win probability sat at an enormous 94.8%.

Against all odds, the Seminoles fought their way back into the game. A Mfiondu Kabengele layup tied the game at 68 late but Xavier quickly retook a two-point lead with 1:49 to play. Shortly after, Trent Forrest found P.J. Savoy in transition for what would be a game-winning three pointer. With 6 seconds to play, C.J. Walker iced the game as he nailed two free throws putting Florida State up 75-70. The win lands Florida State in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2011.

Thursday night, Florida State will continue their revenge tour throughout the NCAA Tournament as they take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs. In 2010, the Zags bounced FSU from the first round of the big dance by the score of 67-60 in a game where the Noles were never really competitive.

Gonzaga is a very balanced team with five different players scoring double-digits per game. The Bulldogs boast a record of 32-4 though their strength of schedule is not great ranking 125th in the nation. Freshman guard Zach Norvell Jr. has led the way so far in the tournament averaging 21.5 points per game in the first two rounds. Sophomore forward Rui Hachimura came off the bench exploding for 25 points in Gonzaga’s second-round win over Ohio State.

Depth could be key in this matchup as the Zags run primarily a seven-man rotation. Offensively, the Bulldogs are one of the most efficient teams in the nation averaging 84 points on just 72 possessions per game. The Bulldogs do a great job of spreading the ball around and making teams defend all 5 positions.

Gonzaga is currently riding a 16 game winning streak but has had close calls in both tournament games so far. The Bulldogs defeated 13 seed UNC Greensboro 68-64 in the first round. They squeaked by Ohio State by the score of 90-84 in the second round.

The West region remains wide open as the top two seeds, Xavier and North Carolina, have been eliminated. Should the ‘Noles win Thursday night, they will take on either Michigan or Texas A&M in the Elite Eight.

Gonzaga opens as a 5.5 point favorite heading into Thursday night. It will be another late night for Seminole fans as the game is set to tip at 10:07 pm est from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.


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