ORLANDO (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – It’s been quite the season for the ACC’s Florida State Seminoles so far.
Florida State is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years, and with seven victories over ranked opposition the Seminoles could be a candidate to make a long tournament run starting with Thursday’s West region first-round matchup with Florida Gulf Coast University in Orlando.
The third-seeded Seminoles won 25 games this season and finished second in the regular season in the rugged ACC, thanks in part to a strong offense sparked by guard Dwayne Bacon.
The Seminoles average 82.5 points per game and shoot 48.3 percent from the field – ranking 18th in the nation in both categories – and Bacon earned second-team All-ACC honors after averaging 16.9 points.
The No. 14 seed Eagles make their third NCAA appearance in the past five years after winning the Atlantic Sun tournament, and also shoot the ball extremely well, ranking fifth nationally at 50.2 percent from the field.
Florida Gulf Coast has won 20 games for the fifth consecutive season, losing by nine points to Baylor and one point to Michigan State early in the season.
Brandon Goodwin leads an offense that finished second in the league in scoring at 79.4 points per game.
TV: 9:20 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT FLORIDA GULF COAST (26-7): The Eagles enter the NCAAs winners of 12 of their past 13 games, as Goodwin has scored 20 or more points seven times in that span.
Demetris Morant leads Florida Gulf Coast in rebounding with eight per game while scoring 10.7 points per contest on 75.7 percent shooting from the field (17-of-19 in his past three games).
Florida Gulf Coast ranks 17th in the country in defending the 3-point shot (30.9 percent).
ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (25-8): Bacon battled a shooting slump late in the season, but rebounded to hit 9-of-14 shots for 18 points and nine rebounds in a loss to Notre Dame in the ACC semifinals.
Jonathan Isaac gives FSU a strong inside presence, as the freshman averaging 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting 50.2 percent from the field.
The Seminoles led the ACC in forced turnovers per game (14.36).
- FSU G Braian Angola-Rodas made four 3-pointers in the ACC semifinals, scoring all of his career-high 17 points in the second half.
- The Seminoles beat the Eagles in the first round of the 2014 NIT, in the only previous meeting between the two schools.
- Thursday’s winner plays either sixth-seed Maryland or 11th-seed Xavier in the second round Saturday.
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