Florida State’s basketball team opens up the 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament as a 3 seed. Their first game is against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies who are the A10 Conference Champions, winning over Xavier in the final, 67-56. Without that win, the Bonnies would not be participating in the NCAA tournament. Xavier and Temple are the other A10 schools who made the tournament field. They are a 10 and a 5 seed respectively.
Two things that St. Bonaventure dues well are getting offensive rebounds and getting to the free throw line. They also have one of the slower tempos of division I basketball teams. If they do these things, they should give themselves the best chance they have to stay in this game.
St. Bonaventure is led by Andrew Nicholson, a 6’9” senior power forward. He leads the team with 18.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg, and 2.0 bpg. Nicholson, who should be drafted in the upcoming NBA draft, will see the ball a lot when he is on the floor. The forward can score any number of ways when he has the ball, so look for Seminole defenders to try to keep the ball out of his possession whenever possible.
Other players who will contribute for the Bonnies are Demitrius Conger, 12.1ppg and 6.1rpg, Da’Quan Cook, 7.6ppg and 4.6rpg, and Matthew Wright, 7.0ppg and 2.8apg.
Florida State’s star shooting guard, Michael Snaer is coming into this game on fire. He went 9 for 12 from behind the 3 point line in the ACC tournament and his floater from inside 10 feet seemed like it went in every time he shot it. On a team full of 5th year seniors and 27 year old Air Force Sergeants, Mike Snaer’s leadership and competitiveness has stood out. Coach K went as far as to call Snaer “the best competitor in the ACC”. With Snaer’s performance on the elevated stage, NBA scouts have begun to take notice. This could be FSU’s last chance at the dance with Michael Snaer as well as the 6 seniors, so they should try and take advantage of this opportunity.
The beauty of this Florida State team is that if Michael Snaer has an off night shooting, any number of other players has an opportunity to turn it on and elevate their play and elevate this team offensively. If Deividas Dulkys can get open looks from behind the 3 point line, or if Luke Loucks can continue to limit turnovers and play at the level he played in the ACC Tournament where he was named to the All-Tournament team, the Noles should find the offense to overcome the Bonnies. Another player that is a game changer for the Seminoles is Ian Miller. Miller comes off the bench with the mindset of getting the ball in the basket any way he can. He is the second leading scorer on this team, but can sometimes get into foul trouble.
Bernard James is the star below the basket for Florida State and he will be looked to have a big game defensively on the boards against one of the best teams in the nation when it comes to offensive rebounds. Jon Kreft and Okaro White are viable options off the bench and will come in to spell starters Xavier Gibson and James, when need be.
Look for Florida State’s big men to have their hands full the entire game with Andrew Nicholson. Also, look for this to be a fairly close game, closer than you’d like your opening round 3 vs 14 matchup to be.
For more on this matchup and the impending March Madness season, check out SB Nation's college basketball hub. For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Seminoles and their tournament run, visit Tomahawk Nation.