South Region Third Round: #7 San Diego State Aztecs vs #15 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

2013 NCAA Tournament – South Region Third Round
#7 San Diego State Aztecs vs #15 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
Sunday, March 24, 2013, 7:10 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Opening Line: San Diego State -8 1/2
Current Line: San Diego State -7 1/2
Opening Total: 132
Current Total: 134 1/2
Opening Money Line: SDSU -350 / FGCU +280
Current Money Line: SDSU -360 / FGCU +300

San Diego St is a 7.5 point favorite against Florida Gulf Coast Sunday in Philadelphia.
San Diego St is a 7.5 point favorite against Florida Gulf Coast Sunday in Philadelphia.

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles became the darlings of the NCAA tournament when they upset #2 seed Georgetown 78-68 Friday in the second round. It was the seventh time a #15 seed has beaten a #2 seed.  Florida Gulf Coast is 25-10 and finished second in the Atlantic Sun with a 13-5 record, a game behind Mercer. The Eagles beat Mercer 88-75 in the Atlantic Sun Championship game. Florida Gulf Coast has won 6 straight games. The Eagles are making their NCAA tournament debut in only their second year eligible for postseason play after moving up to Division I. The program is only 6 years old period. Even the university itself was founded in the early 90’s.

The Eagles will take on #7 seeded San Diego State in the third round Sunday in Philadelphia. The winner will take on either #3 Florida or #11 Minnesota in the South regional semifinals next week in Arlington, Texas. San Diego St is 23-10 this season and finished tied for fourth in the Mountain West with Boise St. Both had 9-7 records in conference. The Mountain West sent 5 teams to the NCAA tournament, including New Mexico, Colorado St, UNLV, SDSU, and Boise. The Aztecs lost to New Mexico 60-50 in the semifinals of the Mountain West tournament. SDSU is the only Mountain West team left in the tournament. The Aztecs beat #10 Oklahoma Friday 70-55 in the second round. Not surprisingly, San Diego St and Florida Gulf Coast have never played each other before.

San Diego St has losses to Syracuse on an aircraft carrier, and against Arizona in a tournament in Hawaii. In conference the Aztecs have losses to UNLV twice, at Wyoming, at Air Force, at Colorado St, at New Mexico twice, and at Boise St. The Aztecs have key home wins over UC-Santa Barbara, San Diego, Colorado St, New Mexico, Boise St twice, Fresno St twice, Nevada twice, Wyoming, and Air Force. SDSU has road wins over Missouri St, and USC,  along with neutral site wins over UCLA in Anaheim, and San Francisco & Indiana St in Hawaii. The Aztecs are 14-13 ATS and the total is 13-11-1 this season.

San Diego State is coached by Steve Fisher. San Diego St is outscoring teams 69-61 this season. The Aztecs are #41 in points allowed. SDSU is shooting 43.8% from the field and 32.4% from 3 point range. The Aztecs make 67.6% of their free throws. SDSU averages 36.8 rebounds per game and gives up 30.4 per game. Aztec opponents are shooting 38.8% from the field and 32.4% from 3 point range. The Aztecs are #18 in opponents’ field goal percentage. SDSU averages 12 assists, 7 steals, 5 blocks and 12 turnovers per game.

Guard Jamaal Franklin averages 16.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game. Guard Chase Tapley averages 13.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Guard Xavier Thames averages 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1 steal per game. J.J. O’Brien  averages 7.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1 steal per game.  James Rahon averages 6.5 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. Deshawn Stephens averages 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.  Winston Shepard, Skylar Spencer, and Dwayne Polee II also get significant minutes.

Florida Gulf Coast is coached by Andy Enfield. The Eagles played a very tough non-conference schedule. FGCU has losses at VCU, at Duke, at St. John’s, at Iowa St, at Maine, at Mercer, at East Tennessee St, Lipscomb twice, and at Stetson. The Eagles beat Miami (FL) 63-51 in the second game of the season. FGCU also has wins over Toledo, Loyola-(MD), and Florida International. Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast were the only teams above .500 in the Atlantic Sun. The Eagles did beat Mercer twice, including on the Bears’ home floor in the championship game. FGCU is 5-0 ATS and and the total is 3-2 in the few board games for the Eagles.

Florida Gulf Coast is outscoring teams 73-67 this season. The Eagles are shooting 46% from the field and 33.9% from 3 point range. FGCU makes 67.7% of their free throws. The Eagles average 36.6 rebounds a game, and give up 31.7. FGCU opponents are shooting 40.6% from the field and 31.1% from 3 point range. The Eagles average 14 assists, 9 steals, 4 blocks and 15 turnovers.

Guard Sherwood Brown averages 15.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Guard Bernard Thompson averages 14 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.8 steals per game. Forward Chase Fieler  averages 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, a steal, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Brett Comer averages 7.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.6 steals a game. Forward Eric McKnight averages 6.7 points per game, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. Christophe Varidel averages 6.1 points per game. Filip Cvjeticanin, Eddie Murray, and Dajuan Graf also get significant minutes.

Florida Gulf Coast is 8-0 ATS in neutral site games, 7-0 against teams with winning records and after a straight up win, 6-0 after a cover, and 10-1 overall.

San Diego St is 4-1 ATS in non-conference games, 5-2 in neutral site games, 2-5 overall, 1-3-1 after a cover, and 0-4-1 after a straight up win.

No #15 seed has ever made it to the Sweet 16. Florida Gulf Coast could very well be the first. Georgetown wasn’t prepared for their speed, and the Eagles ran past the Hoyas. San Diego St is a very good defensive team. I look for the Aztecs to try and slow them down. One thing about Florida Gulf Coast, is they sometimes play loose with the ball. When they take care of the ball, they are very good like on Friday night and in their win over Miami early in the season. However, when they turn the ball over they can be beaten by mediocre teams like Stetson and Lipscomb. I like San Diego St  to grind out a win, but it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if Gulf Coast gets the win.

Our college basketball handicappers are red hot in March. Don’t miss out on any more winners for teh rest of the tournament.

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