NCAA Tournament East Region Third Round Picks: #3 Florida State vs. #6 Cincinnati

2012 NCAA Tournament
Third Round – East Region
Sunday, 3/18/12, 9:40 p.m. Eastern, TV: TBS
#3 Florida State Seminoles (25-9) vs. #6 Cincinnati Bearcats (25-10)
Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
Opening Line: Florida State -1.5
Current Line: Florida State -2
Opening Total: 127
Current Total: 127
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Florida State vs. Cincinnati NCAA Tournament Preview
Florida State leading scorer Michael Snaer did not score a point in the team's last game, a 66-63 win over St. Bonaventure.

The third-seeded Florida State Seminoles advanced to the third round with a late rally to beat No. 14 St. Bonaventure 66-63 on Thursday while the sixth-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats needed to hold on for a 65-59 victory after blowing a big lead against No. 11 Texas.  The Seminoles (25-9) and Bearcats (25-10) will meet on Sunday night in East Region action of the NCAA tournament with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line.

Florida State (-2, O/U 127) was able to overcome a scoreless performance from leading scorer Michael Snaer (14.1 points per game), who missed all seven shots he took after he totaled a team-high 18 points in an 85-82 upset of North Carolina last Sunday in the ACC tournament title game.  Instead, the Seminoles got 19 points from Bernard James and 13 from Luke Loucks to overcome a 34-28 halftime deficit.  Loucks also added seven rebounds and six assists while James had a team-high nine boards.

Unlike Florida State, Cincinnati built a big lead early against the Longhorns with a 31-17 edge at halftime.  However, the Bearcats had to withstand a 33-14 run by Texas that tied the game at 52-52 with 3:44 remaining.  Terrible shooting from beyond the 3-point arc nearly cost Cincy, as the team made only 3 of 16 attempts.  Senior forward Yancy Gates led the way with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

The Bearcats still managed to cover as 3-point favorites and improved to 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games.  The only game they have not covered recently was a 50-44 loss to Louisville in last Saturday’s Big East tournament title game.  The UNDER has cashed in their last two games, but the OVER is still 8-3 in their past 11 NCAA tournament games.

The Seminoles had covered their previous five games before the close call against the Bonnies, and they are riding a six-game winning streak into the third round.  Their last loss came at Miami on February 26, as they were blown out 78-62 by the Hurricanes, which followed a 74-66 home loss to Duke three days earlier.

Two of Florida State’s last three games have also gone UNDER the total following a streak of six straight OVERs.  The Seminoles are averaging 75 points per game over their last five compared to 65 for Cincinnati.  But they have also not been as good defensively, surrendering more than 69 points per game over that same stretch, which is 6.5 more than they have given up on average overall this season.

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