It will be a tall order for Greensboro to keep up with Florida State, which just happens to be the tallest squad—an average height of 79.6 inches, or just under 6-feet-8, per player—in the country.
(The Spartans’ 6-5 average is, well, rather average.)
Florida State is far superior. It’s attractive on NCAA betting menus, since it appears too strong, across the board, for a Greensboro team that squeaked through the Southern Conference tournament to enter March Madness.
- Florida State -10.5 vs. NC-Greensboro, Total 145.5, Saturday, 12:45 pm ET
- Action: Florida State -10.5 and Over 145.5
Starting at the very top, this is Greensboro coach Wes Miller’s second trip to the NCAAs. His first arrived in 2018, when the Spartans gave Gonzaga a battle before losing, 68-64, in Boise, Idaho.
That Gonzaga team, by the way, won another one to land in the Sweet 16, in Los Angeles, where it got wiped out by … Florida State. (However, the Seminoles did lose to the Zags in the NCAAs in 2010 and ’19.)
|BetRivers Sportsbook||Point Spread||Moneyline||Totals|
|Florida State||-10.5 (-113)||-625||O 145.5 (-108)|
|NC-Greensboro||+10.5 (-107)||+460||U 145.5 (-112)|
Seminoles boss Leonard Hamilton—with a 12-10 record in 11 tournaments, including an Elite Eight appearance and three Sweet 16s—has the far deeper NCAA résumé. Plus, he was on Joe B. Hall’s staff when Kentucky won it all in 1978.
Miller, though, did play in 24 games as a reserve—five of his six baskets on the season were 3-pointers, and he had 12 assists with no turnovers—on North Carolina’s 2004-05 national-title team.
Greensboro shoots 3-pointers very poorly, is an average 50.3% inside the arc (where Florida State allows opponents to make only 44.2% of its attempts, the 11th lowest shooting defense in the country), and hits free throws at a poor 68.3% rate.
The Seminoles are better in all three shooting categories, including 39% from 3-point range, No. 9 in the nation. They have four players who have launched at least 40 shots from long range and made more than 40% of them.
They average 78.9 points, in the game’s top-10-percentile, and their adjusted offensive efficiency (116.5) is ranked 10th.
They are 12-3-1 to the Over in their past 16 games, and they’ve covered three of their previous four games when giving double digits. It’s an imposing offense that deserves a closer review.
The Spartans will have difficulty trying to corral Scottie Barnes, a 6-9, 227-pound freshman point forward from West Palm Beach who has a penchant for hugging each and every teammate before they sit down to a team meal.
Barnes won’t treat Greensboro so kindly. He shares the ball, swipes it from foes, sticks his nose under the offensive glass and makes 2-point shots at a 55.2% clip.
He averages 11 points, 4.3 boards and 4.2 assists, and last Saturday he tallied a career-best 21 points against Georgia Tech. Over his past six games, Barnes has shot 63.6% inside the arc, dished out 26 assists and grabbed 32 boards.
The affable and engaging player studies video of Earvin “Magic” Johnson and attempts to emulate the former Michigan State and L.A. Lakers star in manner and skill.
“You see how much of a great point guard he was, how he could find people, get them shots, how flashy he was,” Barnes told the Palm Beach Post. “He played with so much excitement … the smile and joy on his face. That’s something I got, smile and joy and bring a lot of fun and passion to the game.”
Said ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg, “Scottie Barnes: a little Magic Johnson, a little Scottie Pippen.”
A lot of trouble for Greensboro.
Two of Barnes’ main sidekicks are guards MJ Walker and Anthony Polite. Walker, a 6-5 senior, averages 13 points and makes 44.4% of his 3-pointers. Polite, a 6-6 junior, averages 9.4 points and 4.5 boards, and hits 43.9% beyond the arc.
If Walker is on, watch out. He hit six of nine 3-pointers in a win over Boston College two weeks ago, five of six in a victory over Virginia and four of five in a triumph over North Carolina.
Down low, Florida State’s bruisers are 6-8, 260-pound junior forward RaiQuan Gray (12 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and 7-1, 240-pound Serbian center Balsa Koprivica (9.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg).
In his past two games, Koprivica has totaled 28 points, 21 rebounds and six blocked shots. After 12 consecutive games scoring in double figures, though, Gray only registered eight points in each of his past two tilts.
Those Seminoles big men will toil with 7-1 senior Hayden Koval and Mohammed Abdulsalam, a 6-9 junior from Nigeria who had a 16-rebound game three weeks ago against Western Carolina.
For both, however, double-digit scoring games are rare.
By far, the best Greensboro player is guard Isaiah Miller, a 6-foot senior from Covington, Ga., who has scored in the single digits only once in 28 games this season.
He has rung up 127 points in his past five games, in which he launched 93 shots. For good reason (a 21.3% touch from long range), few of those were beyond the arc. In that fine run, Miller has yanked down 38 rebounds and given out 26 assists.
Expect the Seminoles’ height to bother Miller. Just don’t expect him to disappear, however. His effectiveness leads us to an additional Over play, along with Florida State to win by margin.