College Basketball NIT Quarterfinals: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Florida State Seminoles

2014 NIT Quarterfinals
#3 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs #1 Florida State Seminoles
Donald L. Tucker Center – Tallahassee, Florida
Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Florida State -2 1/2 (-111)
Current Line: Florida State -2 1/2
Opening Total: 147 1/2
Current Total: 150 
Opening Money Line: FSU -160 / La Tech +135
Current Money Line: FSU -160 / La Tech +135

Florida State is a 2.5 point favorite at home against Louisiana Tech in the NIT quaterfinals Wednesday.
Florida State is a 2.5 point favorite at home against Louisiana Tech in the NIT quaterfinals Wednesday.

For the second consecutive season, the 29-7 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and 21-13 Florida State Seminoles meet in the NIT. Last year, Louisiana Tech upset Florida State 71-66 in the first round in Tallahassee. It was the first ever meeting between the schools. This season, the #3 seed Bulldogs travel to the #1 seed Seminoles in the Quarterfinals Wednesday night. The winner will play Minnesota in the semifinals next Tuesday in New York City.

Louisiana Tech was part of a four way tie for first in Conference USA at 13-3. The Bulldogs lost to Tulsa 69-60 in the CUSA Championship game. Louisiana Tech beat Iona 89-88 in the first round of the NIT and then won at Georgia 79-71 Saturday in the second round. The Bulldogs have won 8 of their last 9 games.

Florida State went 9-9 in the ACC and were part of a 3 way tie for 7th. The Seminoles lost to Virginia 64-51 in the ACC quarterfinals. FSU was given one of the four #1 seeds in the NIT. The Seminoles beat Florida Gulf Coast 58-53 in the first round, and then beat Georgetown 101-90 in the second round Monday night. FSU has won 3 of their last 4 games.

Louisiana Tech is coached by Michael White. The Bulldogs have losses at St. Mary’s (CA), Louisiana, Oklahoma State in Oklahoma City, at Southern Miss, at UTEP, and at East Carolina. Louisiana Tech has key wins over UNC-Greensboro, Illinois-Chicago, and St. Bonaventure (all in a tournament in Estero, Florida), at Louisiana-Monroe, at Oklahoma, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, at Tulane, Southern Miss twice, Charlotte twice, Marshall, UTSA, Tulsa, North Texas, Rice twice, Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee, and at UAB. The Bulldogs are 17-12 ATS and the total is 16-12 this season.

Louisiana Tech is outscoring teams 81-66. The Bulldogs are #14 in scoring nationally. Louisiana Tech is shooting 45.6% from the field and 33.1% from 3 point range. The Bulldogs make 67.5% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.4% from the field and 30.6% from 3 point range. The Bulldogs are #22 nationally in 3 point shooting. Louisiana Tech averages 39.2 rebounds per game, and opponents average 32. The Bulldogs are #16 in rebounding nationally. Louisiana Tech is averaging 15.9 assists, 11.6 turnovers, 9.2 steals and 5.1 blocks per game. Opponents are averaging 10.3 assists, 16.4 turnovers, 5.6 steals and 3.4 blocks per game.

Guard Alex Hamilton averages 14.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Forward Chris Anderson averages 12.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1.1 steals per game. Guard Raheem Appleby averages 11.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Guard Kenyon McNeail averages 11.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal per game. Guard Jaron Johnson averages 9.2 points and 3.6 assists per game. Kenneth Smith, Cordarius Johnson, and Michale Kyser all average at least 6.9 points per game. Forward Isaiah Massey is out for the season because of academics.

Florida State is coached by Leonard Hamilton. The Seminoles have losses to Michigan in a tournament in Puerto Rico, at Florida, at Minnesota, Virginia three times, at Duke, at NC State, Clemson, at Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, and Syracuse. Florida State has key wins at Central Florida, VCU & Northeastern in Puerto Rico, Charlotte, UMass, at Clemson, Maryland twice, at Miami, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, at Wake Forest, at Pitt, Georgia Tech, and at Boston College. The Seminoles are 18-14 ATS and the total is 14-17-1 this season.

Florida State is outscoring teams 71-66 this season. FSU is shooting 46.9% from the field and 38.1% from 3 point range. The Seminoles are in the top 50 nationally in both categories.  FSU makes 72.1% from the free throw line. Seminole opponents are shooting 40.1% from the field and 32.7% from 3 point range. Florida State is #27 in opponents’ field goal percentage. The Seminoles average 34.5 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.4. FSU averages 11.6 assists, 14.3 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 5.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.2 assists, 13 turnovers, 6.5 steals and 3.7 blocks per game.

Guard Aaron Thomas averages 14.6 points, 4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Guard Ian Miller averages 13.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Forward Okaro White averages 13.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. Guard Devon Bookert average 8.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Guard Montay Brandon averages 7.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Center Boris Bojanovsky averages 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. Robert Gilchrist, Michael Ojo, and Jarquez Smith will also get time in the rotation. Guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes and center Kiel Turpin are both out for the season.

Louisiana Tech is  6-1 after a straight up win, 4-1 after a cover, 7-2 after the opponent scores more than 100 points, 6-2 overall, 5-2 against teams with winning records.

Florida State is 4-0 ATS against Conference USA teams, 4-1 after scoring 90 points or more, and in non-conference games, 3-1-1 in Wednesday games, 2-5 after a cover, 4-10 against teams with winning records, and 2-7-1 against teams with winning road records.

Both teams have played well in the NIT. Louisiana Tech is better on offense, and both teams are giving up 66 points per game. Last season, The Bulldogs upset an uninterested Seminole squad in the first round. However both teams should be motivated with a trip to New York and the semifinals on the line. I like the Bulldogs to pull off the mild upset.

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