NoleGameday

Gameday from LA: What You Need To Know

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For just the second time in 25 years, Florida State has advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Below is everything you need to know for tonight.

The Basics:

Who: West region 9 seed Florida State versus 4 seed Gonzaga 

What: Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament

When: Tip is scheduled for 10:07 pm est though it could easily be delayed depending on the proceeding game in the region (7 seed Texas A&M versus 3 seed Michigan).

Where: Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

The Line: Gonzaga opened as a 6.5 point favorite. The line was bet down to Gonzaga -5.5 within an hour of hitting the books where it currently remains.

What you need to know about the Gonzaga Bulldogs:

Key Players: Gonzaga has just seven players that play more than 10 minutes a game. Junior guard Josh Perkins, senior guard Silas Melson, senior forward Jonathan Williams, freshman guard Zach Norvell, sophomore forward Killian Tillie, sophomore forward Rui Hachimura and freshman forward Corey Kispert. Of the bunch, Norvell has had the hot hand in the tournament so far averaging 21.5 points per game. Hachimura played a huge role for the Zags in their second-round win over Ohio State scoring 25 points off the bench.

X Factor: Two of Gonzaga’s best three point shooters, Killian Tillie (47.9%) and Josh Perkins (39.8%) have struggled so far in the tournament. The two sharp shooters have combined to make just two baskets from deep so far in the tournament. If either one or both can get going, FSU could be in trouble.

Key Stats: Gonzaga does an outstanding job protecting the basketball. The Bulldogs average just 11 turnovers per game. Florida State found success on defense forcing 18 turnovers against an Xavier team that averaged just 13 turnovers per game heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga is an average free throw shooting team at 71% on the season but have struggled mightily so far in the tournament. The Bulldogs are just 32/56 (57%) in the first two rounds.

Tournament History: Gonzaga made their first tournament appearance in 1995. In 1999, the Bulldogs jumped on to the scene as a Cinderella story advancing to the Elite Eight as a 10 seed. This year will mark an incredible 20 straight tournament appearances for the Zags. This year will be their 4th Sweet 16 or better in the past 5 years including an appearance in the national championship game a year ago.

The Bottom Line: Gonzaga is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament and have made more than their fair share of runs in the big dance recently. They do a great job of playing fundamentally sound basketball and rarely beat themselves. Florida State will be facing an uphill battle Thursday night but has the talent and depth to find themselves in a position to win if they play a disciplined 40 minutes.

The winner will face either Texas A&M or Michigan Saturday evening with a trip to the Final Four on the line.


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