The Seminoles and Catamounts both made runs in their respective conference tournaments heading into this matchup. Florida State got edged out by Duke in the ACC Tournament while Vermont won the American East Tournament.
Date/Time: Thursday, March 21, 2:00 p.m. ET
kenpom.com projection: Florida State def. Vermont 72-62
Betting Line: Florida State -9 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
No. 4 seed Florida State
Coach: Leonard Hamilton
Record: 27-7 (13-5)
Conference tournament finish: Runner-up
Player to Watch: Terance Mann
The Seminoles have one of the most talented, experienced rosters in the country. They are largely intact from their Elite 8 run last season and have five seniors leading the way. They’ve won six of the their last seven with the only setback coming against Duke.
Florida State has the ninth best defensive efficiency according to kenpom.com. The Seminoles will be able to use their defensive chops to create turnovers and offensive opportunities in transition. They have an efficient offense as it is, but their defensive skills make them dangerous.
Mann is the most important creator for Florida State. He averaged 11.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game this season. Mann had a rough go in the conference tournament, but was still able to impact the game for the Seminoles.
Florida State has been battle-tested all season. They have non-conference wins over tournament-bound Purdue, Florida, LSU and Saint Louis. This team has the right mix of talent and experience to make a deep run.
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No. 13 seed Vermont
Coach: John Becker
Record: 27-6 (14-2)
Conference tournament finish: Won American East
Player to Watch: Anthony Lamb
The Catamounts come into the dance winners of six straight, including their conference tournament. They are back in the NCAA tourney after an NIT trip last season and will be looking to advance against a tough Seminoles squad.
Lamb can score on all levels and will stress Florida State’s defense. He averaged 21.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 52.1 percent from the floor and 37 percent from deep. Vermont rebounds the ball well as a team, especially on the offensive end. If the Catamounts can get second-chance points or additional possessions, they can spring the upset.
Vermont has a win over tournament-bound Yale from the non-conference slate, but has valuable experience in road losses to Kansas and Louisville. The Catamounts can build on those lessons in this matchup.