The NCAA Tournament continues on Sunday with third round action. In the East Region we will see the No. 3 seed Florida State take on the No. 4 seed Cincinnati. The game is scheduled for a 9:40 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on CBS. Currently the odds have Florida State favored by 2.5 points with the total sitting at 126.5 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: Florida State claimed its first-ever ACC Tournament title this year, and is in the NCAA Tournament for a school-record fourth consecutive year, 14th overall. The 'Noles are now 15-13 all-time in the event, and they are hoping to reach the Sweet 16 for the second straight year after falling victim to VCU's improbable run to the Final Four in 2011. Florida State was put to the test in its opening-round matchup with 14th- seeded St. Bonaventure on Friday, needing a late surge to complete a 66-63 comeback win. FSU trailed nearly the entire game, but sophomore Ian White's three-pointer with 5:06 remaining gave the Seminoles' their first lead at 55-52, but it wasn't clear sailing from there despite a 12-0 run to follow. The Seminoles have proved to be as deep a team as any in the tournament this year with high-caliber minutes coming from up and down the roster. First and foremost for the 'Noles is Snaer, who despite shooting 0-of-7 versus St. Bonaventure has developed a knack for coming up with big shots this season. Many of Snaer's theatrics have come from beyond the arc where he shoots 40.8 percent from the floor with a team-leading 64 threes and 14.1-point average. In addition, his .846 free-throw percentage is second in the ACC. James also serves as a main cog in FSU's success, averaging 10.8 ppg on an incredible 61.4 percent shooting while posting a team-best 8.2 boards and 2.3 blocks. Miller gives the Seminoles three players averaging double-digit scoring with his 10.8 ppg while landing 34 threes at a 35.8 percent clip. The Noles average 70.2 ppg on the year, while they allow 62.9 ppg (67th) and their 38.1% FG defense is 6th in the nation. The Noles have gone 18-14 ATS overall and 4-3 ATS on neutral courts this year. Cincinnati stamped its claim as one of the Big East's most dangerous teams entering this tournament after a thrilling run to the conference tourney title tilt where it dropped a 50-44 decision to Louisville. This is the Bearcats' 26th overall appearance at the Big Dance and 16th in the past 21 years, and they carry a 42-24 ledger into tonight's matchup. The program has found a wealth of success in past NCAA tournaments, winning back-to-back national titles in 1961-62. Cincinnati withstood a spirited comeback to survive against 11th-seeded Texas on Friday, pulling out a 65-59 victory to reach 25 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2004-05. Senior Yancy Gates came up with a pair of big baskets down the stretch, helping the Bearcats to a six-point lead with a little more than a minute to play. UC then finished out the win by hitting 5-of-6 at the foul line. The Bearcats have an efficient offense with four double-digit scorers, but maintain one of the Big East's better scoring margins at plus-7.3 thanks in large part to their defense. Cincinnati holds teams to 61.1 ppg to rank in the top-40 nationally and a mere 41.0 percent shooting from the field. The offense averages 68.4 ppg and shoots an underwhelming 42.1 percent overall, but also has one of the league's better three-point shooting percentages at .339. A big reason for that success comes from sophomore Sean Kilpatrick, who leads the conference with 85 triples on 36.8 percent shooting and tops the Bearcat roster with 14.1 ppg. Dixon follows with a solid 13.1 ppg while Gates provides 12.4 ppg and a team-high 9.2 rebounds -- good for third in the Big East. Wright gives UC a legitimate fourth double-digit scoring option at 10.9 ppg and leads the team with his 4.6 assists per game. The Bearcats have gone 12-4 ATS on the road this year, including 3-1 ATS on neutral courts.
Free Pick: I really like the Bearcats here. Cincinnati is playing great ball right now, especially at the defensive end, where hey have allowed just 61.1 ppg on the year (36th) and just 54.5 ppg in their last 2 games. Looking back a bit further we see that Cincinnati has won 10 of their last 13 games overall and have allowed just 62.8 ppg over that stretch, while also going 6-2 ATS in all games away form home over that stretch as well. Florida state is also on a nice run as they have won 6 in a row, which includes and ACC title, but they really didn't look all that good vs St Bonaventure and their solid defense may be tiring a bit as they have allowed 69.8 ppg in their last 8 games overall, compared to their seasonal average of allowing just 62.9 ppg. I really feel that the Bearcats, led by their defense, are playing better than the Noles right now and that should have them springing the mini upset here.
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