The No. 12 Murray State Racers (28-4) played their true to their game during Thursday’s win over the Marquette Golden Eagles. They dominated with a quick pace to win, 83-64. However, that was the Racers best game of the season. Furthermore, the Big East has looked absolutely atrocious during this season’s NCAA Tournament. As a result, the Racers must prove they belong once again.
This time, they face the No. 4 seed Florida State Seminoles in what should be an intriguing game. Like Marquette, the Seminoles have plenty of size on the wings. Unlike Marquette, the Seminoles are known for playing tough defense with a plethora of players contributing on a nightly basis. The Seminoles grinded out a 76-69 win over the Vermont Catamounts in round one. As a result, they are facing two of the toughest mid majors in consecutive games.
12 Murray State Racers (28-4) vs. 4 Florida State Seminoles (28-7)
When: Saturday, March 23 – 6:10 p.m. EDT
Where: Hartford, Connecticut – XL Center
Betting Line: Florida State -4.5 – o/u 144.5
Murray State Racers Breakdown-
The Racers have won 12 games in a row. They have also won 20 out of their last 22 games. They shared the regular season title with the Belmont Bruins in the OVC. They won the OVC tournament to earn the automatic bid. Otherwise, the Racers wouldn’t have been selected in the NCAA Tournament most likely. Because even with a lottery pick on their team, they weren’t considered good enough based on the numbers. That’s why you have to watch games. And when you watch the Racers, you immediately get drawn into what Ja Morant is doing.
The point guard produced a triple double in the round of 64. Thanks to some incredible passing and hot shooting, the speed broke down the Eagles. Will they be able to do that against the Seminoles. Keep in mind, the Seminoles have 11 guys that play at least 10 minutes per game. Therefore, it will be difficult for the Racers to wear down the opponent on Saturday. However, they can still outperform the Seminoles on the biggest stage.
Murray State is (20-10) against the spread. They are (17-13) vs. the over. The Racers are scoring 83.3 points per game. They are only averaging 73.5 points per game during their four losses. In fact, the Racers only reached their scoring average once in defeat. Therefore, the Seminoles might plan to slow the game down with their size inside.
Florida State Seminoles Breakdown-
The Seminoles almost average a full 9 points fewer than the Racers this season. They are scoring 74.9 points per game. Moreover, the Seminoles only have two players scoring in double figures. Mfiondu Kabengele comes off the bench to average 13.1 points per game. Terance Mann is averaging 11.4 points and 6.4 rebounds to lead the Seminoles. However, it may not be Mann’s day to score. The Seminoles have about eight players capable of leading them in scoring. Therefore, play will come down to who is playing the best defense.
Will the Seminoles start Mann on Morant? Or, will he play one of the wing shooters, namely Tevin Brown. Is it more important to limiting Morant’s scoring opportunities or controlling the rest of the players from having big offensive nights. That’s the dilemma for the Seminoles.
The Seminoles are (16-18) against the spread. They are also (15-17) vs. the over this season. They have won 15 of their last 17 games. Only one of those games were within one shot at the end. Eight of the wins were by double digits.
Prediction and Pick
This game may come down to whoever has the least amount of turnovers. The Seminoles are known to be careless with the ball at the most inopportune times. The Racers have 241 steals on the season. Morant also turns the ball over 5.3 times per game. Therefore, the Seminoles can really disrupt the passing lanes. They have 246 steals on the season. Still, we are going with the upset victory.
Murray State 83 – Florida State 76