After an impressive 71-57 upset over Notre Dame on Sunday, the Florida State Seminoles look to keep rolling in the NCAA Tournament this Thursday. This is their third time reaching the Sweet 16 in team history, and the odds are in their favor to move on to the Elite 8.
No. 10 Florida State vs. No. 11 VCU, 9:55 PM, TBS
Both teams enter this matchup after pulling off huge upsets. VCU beat both No. 3 Purdue and No. 6 Georgetown to get this far in the tournament, while Florida State matched up against No. 7 Texas A&M and No. 2 Notre Dame. In fact, the entire Southwest Region has been full of upsets, as No. 1 Kansas is the only remaining seed ranked higher than ten.
The Seminoles’ main strength is their defense, as they’ve stymied both Texas and Notre Dame so far and – according to KenPom.com – they have the best defense of any NCAA team this year. VCU plays a different sort of game, though, as SB Nation’s blog Tomahawk Nation recently covered:
Despite what you’re hearing the talking heads claim, VCU does not operate at a high tempo, nor do they play particularly good defense. While FSU drew two crawling teams in the opening rounds, VCU plays slightly faster but still comes in at 201st in the country. Only once in the past 26 games have they played a 70+ possession contest (compared to 10 for FSU over the same timespan). Defensively they come in ranked 111th. The other 15 teams remaining all rank in the top 75.
…Against Georgetown they buried 12-25 threes, and outscored the Hoyas by 15 at the line (getting 39 attempts!), and won 74-56. Purdue was up next, and VCU’s game plan – which typically lives and dies by the three – caught Matt Painter off guard as VCU spread out the Boilermaker defense and attacked the lane (exactly what ND did against us by trying to pull Bernard James out to the perimeter).
The ’Noles are the slight favorites in this game, given a 62% chance of winning by Nate Silver from the New York Times. This should be a close match, though, and should make for some very entertaining basketball.
More March Madness resources: Updated printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket and Sweet 16 game times.