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March 16, 2012
Three keys for FSU in NCAA Tournament opener
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - What will Florida State need to do to get past No. 14 seed St. Bonaventure today? Warchant.com examines three keys. The game will tip off at approximately 2:45 p.m. ET.
1. Locking on Nicholson
Nicholson is No. 15 in the nation in field goal percentage (57.6 percent), No. 44 in blocked shots per game (1.97) and 69th in rebounds per game. He is also a 72 percent free throw shooter and a 39 percent shooter from 3-point range to boot.
"He's a really solid big man," said FSU's Bernard James, who will be charged with containing Nicholson today. "I've done a little bit of homework on him. He's a first round prospect for the NBA and the guy can score away from the basket, near the basket. Pretty physical, relentless on the boards. So, we're going to have our work cut out for us."
Florida State is 6th in Division I-A in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to just 38.6 percent shooting this season.
2. Keep up the hot shooting
The Seminoles are shooting 49.8 percent from the field (107 of 215) and 50 percent from 3-point range (34 for 68) over the past four games. Guard Michael Snaer is a ridiculous 14 of 19 from behind the arc (73.6 percent) in that stretch.
James attributed the recent offensive success to improved communication on the court.
"I think everything we've done right over the past four, five games, it's been because of communication," James said. "My team, we've reached another level of closeness. We're talking all the time on the court. It's basically what our coach has been trying to get us to do since day one. And it's a little easier said than done, but once you get that mindset, the mindset we're in now of talking constantly, just letting your teammates know every single thing you're doing, where you're at on the court."
St. Bonaventure is holding opponents to 41.6 percent shooting from the field (No. 95 nationally) and 32.4 percent from 3-point range (96th).
3. Pounding the glass
Florida State will have the height advantage across the front line - the Seminoles are among the tallest teams in Division I - but the Bonnies also sport height in the backcourt like FSU. St. Bonaventure's three most productive guards - Demitrius Conger (6-6), Charlon Kloof (6-3) and Matthew Wright (6-4) can all match up size-wise with FSU's Deividas Dulkys (6-5), Luke Loucks (6-5) and Snaer (6-5)
"(FSU) is big, long, physical, athletic," Nicholson said. "Got to outwork them. The one that plays the hardest will do it."