NCAA Tournament Odds, Picks, Predictions: Florida State vs. UNC Greensboro (March 20)
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: MJ Walker.
- Updated Florida State vs. UNC Greensboro odds have the Seminoles favored by double digits in their NCAA Tournament opener.
- The Spartans won the Southern Conference Tournament with relative ease, winning all three games by at least eight points.
- Get Stuckey's Florida State vs. UNC Greensboro pick below, a spread he's playing at 10 or better.
Florida State vs. UNC Greensboro Odds
|Florida State Odds||-10.5|
|UNC Greensboro Odds||+10.5|
|Moneyline||-640 / +460|
|Time||Saturday, 12:45 a.m. ET|
Florida State came oh so close to its second straight regular-season ACC title but fell short on the final day of the regular season.
The Seminoles then also came agonizingly close to an ACC Tournament title but also fell short on the final day to Georgia Tech in the championship game.
Regardless, we’ve seen head coach Leonard Hamilton have plenty of success in the NCAA Tournament in recent years, and this might be his most complete team. FSU certainly deserves to be in the discussion in regards to non-one seeds with Final Four potential.
FSU will take on SoCon champ UNC Greensboro, which returns to the tournament again after dancing in 2018. If you recall, the Spartans gave Gonzaga a scare in the first round as a No. 13 seed — the same seed they have this year.
If UNCG can pull off the upset, it will mark the first NCAA Tournament win in program history.
In the history of the tournament, 13 seeds own a 21-119 record. Does UNCG have a shot to help improve that record? Let’s take a look.
Florida State Seminoles
Pat McMahon: Leonard Hamilton has done a brilliant job this season to keep Florida State a contender despite losing two lottery picks from last season.
The Seminoles (16-6, 11-4 ACC) came up just short of winning both the ACC regular-season and tournament crowns but are a dangerous four-seed that could have a long stay in Indy.
What makes the Noles so dangerous is their balance and depth as well as their efficient play on both ends of the floor. The Seminoles rank 10th and 48th in offensive and defensive efficiency, respectively.
A staple of a Hamilton-coached team, Florida State doesn’t put too big of a burden on any one player. Only three players average double figures on a team that’s scoring 79 points per game. No Seminole plays more than 29 minutes per game.
In addition to balance, shooting is a huge strength for the Florida State offense. The Seminoles shoot 39% from beyond the arc as a team, the best percentage in the ACC and ninth-best nationally. Leading scorer MJ Walker is an impressive 44.4% from downtown, and fellow guards Anthony Polite (43.9%) and Sardaar Calhoun (41.9%) are above 40% as well.
Scottie Barnes is one of the few Seminoles who has struggled with outside shooting, but he does everything else well.
The ACC Freshman and Sixth Man of the Year has a knack for getting to the rim off the drive and is a gifted playmaker as well. He leads Florida State in assists (4.2 per game), and as a 6-foot-9 point-forward, is a matchup nightmare when he brings up the ball.
The Noles have plenty of talent in the paint as well, led by RaiQuan Gray and Balsa Koprivica.
Gray is a unique talent and tough matchup for traditional bigs thanks to his ability to bang in the post and also handle the ball and attack from the perimeter.
Koprivica is a traditional Florida State center, who uses his height and length to pound the offensive glass and protect the rim on the defensive end (team-best 1.6 blocks per game).
The Seminoles undoubtedly have the talent to win multiple games in this tournament, but there’s concerns with their ability to play away from home. Florida State is just 4-5 straight up and 3-5-1 ATS away from the Donald L. Tucker center this season.
UNC Greensboro Spartans
Stuckey: UNC Greensboro is known for its extremely aggressive defense under head coach Wes Miller.
The Spartans press at the fifth-highest rate in the country, forcing a turnover on 21% of opponent possessions.
Senior point guard Isaiah Miller is the clear-cut team leader and dominant on-ball defender. UNCG also aggressively attacks the defensive glass in order to try to get out in transition.
The offense is extremely inefficient when not forcing turnovers or grabbing offensive rebounds (thanks in large part to big man Mohammed Abdulsalam) — as UNCG is one of the worst shooting teams in the field at 30.0% from 3 (312th overall in Division I). It also struggles mightily from the free-throw line.
As a result, per Synergy, the Spartans’ half-court offense ranks in just the 21st percentile in terms of points per possession. At least the Spartans don’t turn it over much.
Matchup & Betting Analysis
Stuckey: On paper, you could argue this isn’t the worst matchup for UNC Greensboro since Florida State does have turnover issues (241st) and teams have had success on the offensive glass (291st).
However, the level of competition was obviously much different for these two teams this season. For example, UNCG faced only one tournament team all season (Winthrop) and lost, whereas nine of FSU’s 22 games came against teams in the dance.
The Spartans also benefited from a very easy path in the Southern Conference Tournament by avoiding the other top three seeds. This is a major step up in class.
The Seminoles will just have such an athletic and talent advantage across the board. I just think they can create too many mismatches in their half-court offense, while cleaning up on the offensive glass. They also should live at the line (where they hit at just under 74% as a team) against UNCG’s aggressive defense that fouls frequently.
Plus, FSU has actually graded out well against the press this year. It does at least get to practice against it as the Noles are one of only four teams in the country to press at a higher rate than UNCG. And I’m just not sure how UNCG will score with any consistency in the half-court.
UNCG has had success in transition, but FSU has excelled in transition defense this year, ranking in the 88th percentile, per Synergy. It should be tough sledding all game long for the UNCG offense.
Meanwhile, FSU will find plenty of open 3s against this hyper-aggressive UNCG defense. And the Noles are more than capable of hitting outside shots, shooting 39% on the season from 3 (9th).
There’s only so much Isaiah Miller can do on defense against a very versatile and deep FSU roster. And I just don’t see how UNCG given its extreme shooting woes — especially against an FSU defense that is elite at the rim and in transition.
The Spartans will only be able to do so much on the offensive glass against this aggressive FSU defense.
I’d love to get -10 with FSU here.
Pick: Florida State -10.