The ACC has been a crazy, unpredictable roller coaster ride this season that has seen traditional powers falter (North Carolina), early feel-good stories fade (Virginia Tech), and a championship program persevere during a transition period (Virginia). However, there have been three teams that have been consistent in this league all season long, and two of them are going to take the court on Monday night for the second time this season as Louisville heads to Tallahassee to play Florida State.
The Seminoles traveled to Louisville on Jan. 4 and defeated the Cardinals 78-65. The Seminoles dominated behind some lights-out shooting by MJ Walker (five three-pointers) and a defensive effort that shut down everyone except Louisville star Jordan Nwora.
Nwora scored 32 points in the game, but no other Cardinal had more than 10 points. The Cardinals also turned the ball over 16 times in the game.
The perimeter trio of Walker, Trent Forrest, and Devin Vassell was magnificent in the first game combining for 57 points and eight three-pointers. The Seminoles offense managed an extraordinary 1.20 points per possession in the game and held the Cardinals to just 40% from the field.
It wasn’t a perfect effort by any means as the ‘Noles allowed 19 offensive rebounds, but it was good enough for a 13-point road victory.
Both teams have remained steady since Louisville is atop the ACC with a 14-3 league record while the Seminoles are currently tied with the Duke Blue Devils for second at 13-3.
Florida State is a 2.5-point favorite for this one, with the over/under set at 140.
FSU protects the Tucker Center
It seems like one of the best-kept secrets in college basketball, Florida State is awesome at home. You always hear about Kansas, Duke, and Butler, but FSU is there as well. Since 2010-11, the Seminoles are 132-31 at home straight up, that’s good for 81%.
This season is no different as the ‘Noles are 14-0 at home straight up. Overall, they are just 14-13 against the spread and just 6-8 ATS at home, so do keep that in mind.
In a somewhat surprising development, FSU goes over on their totals this season to the tune of 62% overall and 71% of the time at home. The Seminoles are 4-1 ATS in their last five and have gone over seven of their last 10 games.
Louisville could be looking at a No. 1 Seed
With a crazy Saturday taking down some of the top teams in college basketball last weekend, the door is open for Louisville to get onto the one line. It’s slim, but a win over one of the best teams in the nation is a good start.
The Cardinals have been decent on the road this season going 6-3 straight up and 4-5 against the spread and 14-13-1 ATS overall on the season. The total has gone over in six of their nine road games this season as well as in eight of their last 12 games overall.
Are you ready to trust Louisville?
I have been on the Cardinals all season, but when Jordan Nwora is off, they are a totally different team. Florida State has the bodies to run at Nwora in Vassell and Patrick Williams, and the Seminoles can really turn it on defensively when they need to.
That said, this was only a five-point game with 10 minutes to go the first time around, and Louisville played very poorly. If they can once again hit the offensive glass, you have to think the result will be different.
I think the most logical play is the over, but Florida State’s inability to cover at home makes me think Louisville will pull this out. The Seminoles will not score 1.20 PPP again, and Louisville’s supporting cast will not leave Nwora hanging again.
MJ Walker has not been the same player in the last eight games, and he led this team to that road victory in the first meeting. Take the Louisville moneyline on the road for what could be some plus money.
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