No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 11 Xavier Prediction, Game Preview

    Florida State vs. Xavier prediction and game preview, as the No. 3 Seminoles and No. 11 Musketeers face off in the NCAA Tournament second round.

    March 17, 2017

    Florida State vs. Xavier prediction and game preview, as the No. 3 Seminoles and No. 11 Musketeers face off in the NCAA Tournament second round.

    In the second round of the 2016-17 NCAA Tournament, No. 3 Florida State will take on No. 11 Xavier in Orlando, Florida.

    Coming into the tournament, Chris Mack’s Musketeers were 21-13, which was good enough to earn Xavier a spot as the No. 11 seed in the West region of the NCAA bracket. A first-round matchup with No. 6-seeded Maryland saw the Musketeers come out on top, 76-65.

    As for the Seminoles, their 25-8 mark earned them a spot as a No. 3 seed, and they were given a test in the first round against Florida Gulf Coast University. However, FSU shut down the Dunk City revival by beating the Eagles, 86-80.

    Florida State vs. Xavier Game Preview

    Date: March 18, 2017
    Time: 6:10 p.m. ET
    Venue: Amway Center, Orlando, Fla.
    Region:  West

    Florida StateWins If …

    It’s plain and simple. If the ‘Noles shoot as poorly from behind the arc as they did against FGCU, they’re going to have a much tougher test against the Musketeers. FSU hit on only 2-of-13 three-point attempts (15.4 percent). They have to knock down open looks from outside.

    However, FSU really separated itself by cleaning the glass as well as drawing calls and getting to the line. But converting 24-of-39 free throws (61.5 percent) could hurt the Seminoles in the second round. Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jonathan Isaac have to do better than the combined 11-of-19 they shot from the charity stripe. But if both crash the boards again, they’ll be in a position to win.

    Xavier Wins If …

    The Musketeers have to win the turnover battle. In the win over Maryland, Xavier committed 15 turnovers to the Terrapins’ 11, but it’s a dangerous line to walk when you’re being careless with the basketball.

    At the same time, the two biggest factors for the Musketeers in their first win were free throws and rebounds. Sean O’Mara played the biggest role for them in both categories. He hit 8-of-9 free throws and led the team with seven rebounds, three of which were on the offensive glass. If Xavier can get to the line 20-plus times again, it has to convert more than 70.8 percent. You can’t leave points on the floor and expect to win. If they hit their free throws and box out, they’ll be in good shape.

    Florida State vs. Xavier Prediction

    FSU is going to be put to the test once again. Xavier can crash the boards and get to the foul line as well, but the Musketeers will come up shy in both categories. The Seminoles will shoot marginally better from three-point range and will — again — win the battle on the boards. A few lead changes in the second half will have Florida State out on top when the final horn sounds off.

    Florida State vs. Xavier Score Prediction: Florida State 84, Xavier 79

    MORE: Complete NCAA Tournament Bracket, Previews, Predictions


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