No. 5 Colorado is fresh off a blowout win against No. 12 Georgetown and will face a much more challenging opponent in the round of 32. No. 2 Florida State edged out No. 13 UNC Greensboro following the Buffaloes’ opening win, despite an uncharacteristically poor shooting night from long range.
The game is set to tip-off on Monday, March 22, at 7:45 p.m. on TBS, live from Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
This matchup could be a very close one, and here’s what you need to know about each team.
No. 5 Colorado: 23-8 (14-6 Pac-12)
First round result: 96-73 win over No. 12 Georgetown
KenPom rating: 14 Overall, 16 Offense, 28 Defense
NET ranking: 15th (4-4 vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: McKinley Wright IV (15.5 ppg)
Key stat: Averages just 11.1 turnovers per game.
Colorado played with a purpose from the start on Saturday and amassed a 24-point lead at the half, thanks to some spectacular long-range shooting. The Buffaloes converted 16 of their 25 three-point attempts to put the game out of reach early, and Georgetown’s second-half improvement didn’t mean much in the end because of the massive deficit it faced.
McKinley Wright IV is the Buffaloes’ floor general and leads them in points, assists, and steals per game. He notched a double-double with 12 points and 13 assists against the Hoyas and got plenty of help from three other double-digit scorers. Jabari Walker’s 24-point outburst off the bench on Saturday was lightning in a bottle, and Colorado will need role players to continue stepping up in the second round.
The Buffaloes are one of the better teams in the NCAA at taking care of the rock and average just 11.1 turnovers per game. Limiting the opposition’s takeaways will help keep Florida State from blowing the game wide open by scoring in transition.
No. 4 Florida State: 16-6 (11-4 ACC)
First round result: 64-54 win over No. 13 UNCG
KenPom rating: 17 Overall, 11 Offense, 47 Defense
NET ranking: 25, (3-4 vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: M.J. Walker (13 ppg)
Key stat: Shoots 39% from three-point range as a team.
Florida State has one of the most explosive offenses in the country and averages 78.9 points per game, but had a real battle with UNCG. Although The Seminoles shot 52% from the field as a team, the Spartans hung in until the very end by securing second-chance opportunities on the boards.
M.J. Walker posted a mere four points on 2-of-6 shooting, but three of his teammates scored at least 12 points to help lift the favorites to victory down the stretch. Florida State’s 0-for-9 performance from long range can’t be replicated in the round of 32 if it hopes to advance.
The Seminoles have the seventh-highest three-point shooting percentage in Division I basketball, so it’s not likely that they’ll shoot 0% again.
March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: Florida State -1.5
Point total: 140
Moneyline: Florida State -124, Colorado +104
Against The Spread Pick: Colorado +1.5
Point total pick: Over 140
Pick to Win: Colorado +104
The Buffaloes blew a Georgetown team that’s 64th in the NET rankings out while the Seminoles had to battle until the very end against a UNCG team that’s 84th in the NET. These two teams haven’t met before, but Colorado’s first-round dominance should give it much more momentum entering round two. Florida State will have to step up its game in a major way to top a team in its tier.
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