NCAA Basketball Betting – FSU Brings Indiana its Toughest Test to Date

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Leonard Hamilton always seems to have a big, physical team, but the Florida State Seminoles’ coach was faced with departure of five of his top six players from last year’s 29-win squad. Well, judging from the early results, he seems to be reloading quite nicely.

Hamilton has his club on a roll, and against proven opponents, as it visits the Indiana Hoosiers in NCAA basketball betting action that begins at 9 PM ET Tuesday at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN. It’s part of the Big Ten / ACC Challenge.

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There is no team in the country that brings more size to the table than FSU, which has two seven-footers in the rotation and no one shorter than 6-4. Patrick Williams, a five-star recruit, leads a parade of shot blockers, and he is just one of a bunch of newcomers that are already making impact. But holdovers like Trent Forrest are going to be the people who make the 17th-ranked Seminoles go. He’s a senior point guard who was slowed down by a toe injury last season, but is an ideal two-way player in Hamilton’s system. He can quickly transform defense into offense, and is the ultimate unselfish player. He’s one of the reasons Florida State is 11th in the nation in Steal Percentage.

Last season FSU got to the Sweet 16, losing to Gonzaga. They got off to an inauspicious start, losing the opener to Pittsburgh. But since then they have reeled off seven straight victories, and they have gone into tough territory, beating the likes of Florida, Tennessee and Purdue, capturing the invitational Emerald Coast Classic in the process.

Indiana, with a 7-0 record, has, to be honest, played a soft early slate. So were not all that sure what this team can do. However, we do know that after last year’s edition, which got only as far as the NIT, Archie Miller went out and got himself a McDonald’s All-American in Trayce Jackson-Davis, who will be a major challenge for Florida State’s big people inside. Jackson-Davis has had four double doubles in these first seven games.

In the NCAA basketball betting odds posted on this game, with reduced juice from BetAnySports, Indiana is the favorite at home:

Indiana Hoosiers -3 (-105)
Florida State Seminoles +3 (-105)

Over 140 points (-105)
Under 140 points (-105)

It’s not known whether Rob Phinisee, who is ideally the starting point guard for the Hoosiers, will be able to make it, as he has a rib injury. Last season he got off to a very hot start, then was thrown off-track considerably after suffering a concussion. Miller may turn to “point guard by committee” if he has to sit out, and he’s got talent there, between Devonte Green, Al Durham and Armaan Franklin.

Both of these teams can block some shots, Indiana is not all that compromised in the size department. FSU will have a couple of European imports playing a certain number of minutes. Seven-footer Dominic Olejniczak, an Ole Miss transfer by way of Poland, and Balsa Koprivica, a freshman from Belgrade who is 7-1, will take up a lot of space in the lane. But we do think that Indiana’s strategy might be to get them into foul trouble, as the ratio of free throws to field goal attempts is 50.1%, and that is the highest percentage in the country.

One of the things that’s important for us to look at, however, is that Florida State has proven to be equally good defending inside AND outside of the arc, allowing just 35.8% shooting overall. And they have been able to dictate the tempo of opposing offenses, who have been forced to take a lot of time to get off a shot. That is evidenced by the 59.9 points per game they’ve allowed. That would be one thing if they played a bunch of stiffs, but they have indeed been in there with high quality opposition, as at least four of their seven foes will be in the Big Dance.

And they have additional three-point firepower this season, in the persons of junior-college transfer Nathaniel Jack (43.8%) and sophomore swingman Devin Vassell, who is 40% from three-point range, among the nation’s top 100 in Offensive Rating, and recently named the Most Outstanding Performer in the Emerald Coast Classic. We really like to see with this Indiana bunch can do against better opposition, and they will get that test tonight. For now, we’re comfortable taking the points with the venerable Hamilton and his very “long” bunch.

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