In the East region’s third-round finale, the third-seeded Florida State Seminoles take on the No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats. Both teams are coming off suspenseful finishes from the Round of 64, with the Seminoles making a terrific second-half comeback to beat St. Bonaventure and the Bearcats narrowly surviving one on the part of the Texas Longhorns.
Where: Bridgestone Arena (Nashville, TN)
When: Sunday at 9:40 p.m. ET
Watch: TBS, or live stream at ncaa.com/march-madness
Listen: Cincinnati: WLW 700-AM; Syracuse: WNLS 1270-AM
Betting Line: Florida State -2.5, according to docsports.com. After notching one three-point victory in this tournament, it wouldn’t be any surprise to see the Seminoles do the same tomorrow and (barely) cover.
What’s At Stake?
The Seminoles have a great chance to make the Final Four for the first time since losing to Bill Walton’s UCLA squad in 1972, but they can’t afford to look past scrappy Cincinnati. For the Bearcats, a win would mean their first Sweet 16 appearance in a decade, not to mention a likely showdown with their erstwhile postseason rivals from Ohio State.
What They’re Saying
Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin lauded senior Yancy Gates for stepping up in crunch time against Texas. “He has matured so much as a player,” Cronin told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Florida State’s Luke Loucks knows his team was lucky to survive 14th-seeded St. Bonaventure. “They came out fists swinging, and we didn’t really hit back until maybe 10 minutes to go in the second half,” he told the Tampa Bay Times, adding “We really, really had to fight to win that game.”
Most Important Player to Watch
Florida State SG Michael Snaer, the team’s leading scorer at 14.5 points per game, was shut out by the Bonnies. If he presses early to prove that he’s back, he could shoot the Seminoles into a deep hole—or he could get hot and blow the game open early.
Cincinnati PF Yancy Gates vs. Florida State PF Bernard James. Gates is Cincinnati’s only viable interior presence, and he’ll be sorely tested by the superior size of James and the Seminoles, especially when it comes to keeping them off the offensive glass.
The Bearcats are warriors, but their four-guard lineup is just too small to bang with Florida State’s frontcourt bruisers. Look for another narrow Seminoles win.