Louisville Cardinals vs. Florida State Seminoles Pick 2/24/20
Louisville Cardinals (23-5 SU, 15-12-1 ATS) vs. Florida State Seminoles (23-4 SU, 14-13 ATS)
When: Monday, February 24, 7 p.m.
Where: Donald Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Fla.
Point Spread: LOU +2.5/FSU -2.5 (SportsBetting.ag - 50% Free Play Bonus up to $1000!)
Total: O/U 140
Last Time Out:
Louisville beat North Carolina 72-55; Florida State edged NC State 67-61.
Scouting the Cardinal:
Jordan Nwora got to experience the best tonic in the ACC for a scorer this season: playing against Syracuse and North Carolina. Nwora was MIA against Georgia Tech and got benched at Clemson in response, but it wasn’t until the Cardinals got to face the Orange and the Tar Heels that he got out of his funk. Facing the second and third-worst defenses in the league (only Miami is worse) will do that, and now the question is whether Nwora is truly back on his game. If he is, this could be a big day for him, as he had no problems whatsoever with the Seminoles’ defense in the teams’ first meeting and has generally been able to do whatever he wants against every ACC defense except Clemson and Georgia Tech.
Getting Nwora back on track against a good defense would be huge for the Cardinals, who have generally been a good road team before their recent pratfalls along Interstate 85. Prior to those games, the Cardinals had covered their past three road games in the ACC, pushed at Notre Dame, and came within a point away from a cover at Pittsburgh.
Scouting the Seminoles:
It’s a Leonard Hamilton-coached team, and that means one thing: the Seminoles know how to play defense. Florida State doesn’t play anywhere near as slow as it has in years past. However, the Seminoles still know how to lock down, and they presented the perfect blueprint for how to handle Louisville when the teams met in northern Kentucky: focus on the players not named Jordan Nwora. Nwora got 32 against Florida State in the teams’ first meeting, but the Seminoles made sure the Cardinals’ other four players didn’t beat them, holding the rest of Louisville’s lineup to a mere 33 points on 13-for-47 shooting.
What makes Florida State so dangerous for ACC opponents is that on top of the defense, the Seminoles spread their scoring so well that foes can’t really key on any one player. Trent Forrest and MJ Walker were both excellent against the Cardinals the first time, but Patrick Williams has stepped up his play in recent games, scoring in double figures in five of the Seminoles’ past six games. All of those have gone into the win column for FSU, so if Williams is scoring, good things tend to follow.
First place. There is no regular-season title in the ACC, but there is tournament seeding to worry about because the team in first place is going to have a much easier time getting to the final and setting itself up for a high seed in the NCAA tournament. The committee still places a high emphasis on how you finish, and the team that finishes in first place in the ACC not only won’t have to see their opponent in this game until the finals but also won’t have to see Duke. Even though Virginia or NC State is likely to be desperate for a big win at that stage, the Cavaliers and Wolfpack don’t have the talent that the Blue Devils do, and avoiding both of the other two giants of the league will make for a much easier path to an ACC title.
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Louisville will Cover if:
The Cardinals can handle the Seminoles’ physicality and find good shots. Nwora will get his points, but if he’s not getting help from his teammates, it doesn’t matter how well he’s shooting because he’s not going to outscore the Seminoles on his own. Louisville has to find the second and third options and get shots against FSU when they come, something they didn’t do at all in the first meeting.
Florida State will Cover if:
The Seminoles get to the free-throw line. Florida State shoots 76 percent from the stripe as a team, suitable for tops in the ACC, and Louisville knows it. The Cardinals only sent Florida State to the line five times for the entire contest in the first meeting, and it was fortunate for Louisville that they did because the result would have been much worse if Florida State had managed to get to the line more often than that. Louisville has to play tough defense without getting overly physical and allowing the Seminoles to display their skills in front of a friendly crowd.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
The Cardinals might have gotten healthy off of Syracuse and North Carolina’s horrendous defenses, but that doesn’t mean that they’re back on track. Florida State is an entirely different animal and easily beat the Cardinals the first time out. That was the first time in the past five games that the margin wasn’t decided by five points or less, and it speaks to how well the Seminoles match up with the Cardinals this season.
Florida State is also playing at home, and the Seminoles are a perfect 14-0 in Tallahassee this season. Of course, Louisville was once perfect at home and has only lost one game at the Yum Center all season. Who was that game against? Florida State.
If the Cardinals couldn’t stay within double digits of the Seminoles at the Yum Center, which has otherwise been a fortress for them, it’s hard to picture them keeping this close in Tallahassee, where Florida State has been cruising past everybody. Throw in that the Seminoles have hit the over in four of their past five games at home, and this looks like the best bets on the board are Florida State to cover and the teams to go over the total. Give me the Noles. Bet the Louisville/FSU game for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 at MyBookie! Must sign up through this special link and use bonus code PREDICT100.