Every time Florida State faces a vastly inferior opponent it might be tempting to go ahead and give the red hot Seminoles credit. Then you have to remember that while Florida State beat North Carolina and Duke two times apiece, this is a team that lost to Boston College, one of the worst teams to play in a power conference this year. Florida State is definitely a good team, but this loss sticks out as a stark reminder that the Seminoles know how to give one away. Not that St. Bonaventure needs any charity: this is a pretty good team that has a legitimate star in Andrew Nicholson and enviable size at most positions. St. Bonaventure presents a number of challenges to the Seminoles, but Florida State is equipped to deal with these challenges.
So here’s a fun fact: despite all their defensive acumen and talented interior play, the Bonnies have been the better rebounding team over the course of the season. This team gobbles up misses on offense and secures the rock on defense. They aren’t reliant on the long ball and are skilled at getting the ball down low where both guards and forwards are fairly talented at drawing fouls. These are all good things, but unfortunately, these strengths don’t particularly play into the Seminoles weaknesses. The Seminoles defend the interior even better than they defend the perimeter and their depth leaves them largely immune to foul trouble. As good as St. Bonaventure has been at rebounding this year, Florida State has players who can definitely challenge the Bonnies on the glass.
Meanwhile, the Bonnies have one glaring weakness: they cough the ball up very freely. Now, Florida State does the same thing, but the two differ in one key way. Florida State makes up for it’s own turnovers by using pressure defense to force plenty of opponent turnovers, while St. Bonaventure has largely been unsuccessful at forcing opponent turnovers. In this disparity, Florida State has a big opportunity. The Bonnies susceptibility to pressure and disruptive defense plays right into the Seminoles hands. Leonard Hamilton‘s team will be able to do what it does best: make a team miserable on offense by breaking up the possession before it even really starts. Unless St. Bonaventure figures out a way to play exceptionally carefully against one of the most maddening defenses in America, I think that the Bonnies are very likely to lose the battle for possessions in a landslide, rendering most of the rest of the contest a moot point.
Still, Boston College…