Rushed Reactions: #9 Florida State 75, #4 Gonzaga 60

Posted by Andrew Murawa on March 23rd, 2018

RTC will be providing coverage of the NCAA Tournament from start to finish. Andrew Murawa (@amurawa) is in Los Angeles for the West Regional this weekend.

Three Key Takeaways.

Florida State Was All Smiles After Outlasting Gonzaga (USA Today Images)

  1. It Doesn’t Have to Be Pretty. And this game certainly wasn’t. The stop-and-start pace of the game because of all the fouls (22 in the first half led to 38 overall) didn’t help matters. Neither did the forced offense on both ends. Or the cold shooting from deep (a combined 11-of-40 from deep). Let’s face it, after the offensive beauty that Michigan displayed in the first game of the evening, this was not a game for the faint of heart. But years from now, all that will matter was that Florida State won and advanced to just its third Elite Eight in program history.
  2. Depth. Even on its best days this season, Gonzaga, which basically plays seven players, was not a deep team. When sophomore Killian Tillie became a late scratch after re-aggravating a hip injury during warmups, it became even more of an issue. Against a Florida State team that has no problems going 10 deep, the Zags were simply outmanned. The Seminoles subbed early and often (those 10 players all played at least 10 minutes each) and used physical switching defenses to their advantage, not worrying so much as the fouls piled up. Early in the second half, the Zags looked like they were going to crawl back into the game, but the Seminoles never let their foot off the gas as the Bulldogs faltered late.
  3. Balance. Terance Mann wound up with 18 points to lead all scorers, but no one else on his team scored in double figures. However, six other Florida State players scored at least six points each. The team combined for nine blocks, led by freshman Mfiondu Kabengele; but six other guys chipped in to reach that number. Likewise, six Seminoles combined to swipe nine steals. Long story short, this team is built around the idea of every player on the team picking up for every other player and every guy having everyone else’s back. It worked tonight.

Star of the Game.  Terance Mann. After suffering a groin injury in the Seminoles’ first round win over Missouri, the junior wasn’t expected to play in the round of 32 against Xavier. He toughed it out for 24 minutes of less effective play than normal. But tonight, that injury appeared to be a thing of the past, as evidenced by four dunks on the night and non-stop energetic play. After a quiet first half with just six points on five attempts, the upperclassman picked up the pace in the second half, pouring in 12 on eight attempts, including four dunks on the night.

Sights and Sounds. Florida State War Chant. Visits from the Florida State basketball program are few and far between out west, so people on the best coast may not understand just how annoying the war chant can be when your team is on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Gonzaga fans got an indoctrination into what it means to hate the Seminole’s chant this evening as it echoed through the Staples Center with the clock winding down.


  • Leonard Hamilton, on his team’s philosophy. “We are a team that operates from the philosophy that we have to win games by committee. This has been our philosophy for a number of years. We try to get the guys to buy into 18 strong because we believe that there are strength in numbers. We’re in the ACC where there are a lot of one-and-dones and McDonald’s All-Americans, so in order for us to compete we have to have a number of guys contribute night in and night out. Just about everybody on our team has led us in scoring at one point in time.”

What’s Next? Florida State advances to its first Elite Eight since Bob Sura was around, losing to Kentucky in 1993. Leonard Hamilton, meanwhile, advances to his first Elite Eight since he was an assistant for Kentucky way back in 1986. The Seminoles will face Michigan Saturday with a spot in the Final Four on the line. As for Gonzaga, the Bulldogs came up a couple rounds shy of their second straight Final Four appearance. But, while some of the names and faces will be different, you can bet the Zags will be back.

AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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