FSU Eyes Rubber Match with Louisville in ACC Tourney

With the dust settling across the ACC over the weekend, Florida State learned their fate heading into the conference tournament this week. FSU earned the #8 seed and a first-round bye after defeating Boston College in Tallahassee Saturday afternoon. The Noles will meet the nine seed Louisville Cardinals for the third time this year after splitting the season series.

Florida State jumped out to a 17 point lead against Louisville in January before allowing the Cardinals to fight their way back in the game. Louisville would eventually leave Tallahassee with a 73—69 victory over the ‘Noles. The Seminoles were able to return the favor in February as junior guard Terrance Mann came up with a key blocked shot that led to an M.J. Walker slam dunk with one second on the clock as FSU walked away with an 80-76 road win.

Florida State enters the ACC Tournament with the 8th best odds of winning the championship at +1600 according to OddsShark.com. Louisville is currently sitting at +3300, the 11th best odds of winning the conference tournament. The game will likely have NCAA Tournament implications for both teams. As of Tuesday afternoon, Florida State is currently on the right side of the bubble as a 9 seed in Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology. Louisville is currently listed as his first team out of the tournament.

Defensively, FSU’s main focus will be on slowing down Louisville’s Ray Spalding and Deng Adel. Spalding averaged 15 points per game and Adel 16.5 PPG in the first two meetings this season. Senior guard Quinten Snider is the only other Cardinal averaging double digits on the year. The trio has contributed to over half their teams offensive production on the season.

Offensively, a balanced attack has worked best for Florida State against the Cardinals this season. In their January loss, Mann and Brian Angola scored all but 26 of FSU’s 69 points. The Noles had six players reach double-digits in their win at the KFC YUM! Center last month. FSU has looked to play fast all season currently ranking 29th in the nation in possessions per game and will likely look to keep the tempo up against the Cards. Louisville opened as a one-point favorite but the line is currently a pick em on most sportsbooks.

Should the Seminoles defeat Louisville Wednesday afternoon, they will be greeted by the nations top-ranked team in Virginia who earned all 65 first-place votes in the latest AP poll out this week. The Cavilers have lost just two games all season and dropped just one game this calendar year.

The ACC Tournament officially tipped off Tuesday afternoon at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with 12th seeded Boston College taking on 13th seeded Georgia Tech at noon. Florida State and Louisville take the court  Wednesday at noon as the Seminoles’ postseason run officially begins. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.


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