The No. 12 Louisville Cardinals travel to Tallahassee to face the No. 10 Florida State Seminoles today at 2pm on ESPN. Today’s game marks the end of a 6-game stretch against top-25 ranked opponents, a stretch that the Seminoles have taken advantage of with a record of 4-1 with the lone loss coming at UNC after FSU throttled Duke 88-72.
Florida State is loaded with talent, Leonard Hamilton is a great recruiter and his team this year can and will do some damage come March. Guard Dwayne Bacon leads the Seminoles in scoring with 17.4 PPG, the Sophomore guard is showcasing why he will be a 1st-round pick in this year’s draft. Freshman 6’10” Forward Jonathan Isaac is the other headliner of the talented bunch, he averages 13.1 PPG and 7.1 RPG. The Seminoles have length at every position so Louisville does not have their typical edge in that category in this game. The Cards will have to use their momentum from Thursday’s win over Clemson to come away with a win on the road today.
Florida State is a very, very good offensive team. They shoot 50.5% as a team from the field, they average 15.3 assists per game, and put up an impressive 86.3 PPG. It’s no secret that defense will win or lose this game for Louisville today, and when that’s the case, I bet on the Cardinals. Florida State gives up 70.9 PPG, a glaring chink in the Seminole armor. Especially glaring when Louisville is coming off their best offensive performance of the season (even without 2nd leading scorer and leading assist man Quentin Snider) and is currently riding a tidal wave of confidence all the way to Florida. The Cards are no stranger to offensive juggernaut teams that don’t quite emphasize defense as much (UK, Duke, Pitt, and Indiana) and the results speak for themselves in those games. Florida State is a very talented team, but team defense, contested shots, and frustrating physicality are the easiest ways to disrupting a team that prides itself on offense. Louisville will answer the challenge today, and will do so with a statement. The Cards will let the country know, the offense should be just as feared as the defense (85 PPG over the last 3 outings). Louisville defeats Florida State by a score of 78-68, behind Anas Mahmoud’s 5 blocks, Donovan Mitchell’s 21 points, and Jaylen Johnson’s soon-to-be 4th double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Today’s a big one, Card fans. A win today means Louisville is one step closer to a tie for first-place in the ACC. It seems to be a unanimous agreement that the ACC Champ is a guaranteed lock for a 1-seed this year, this is a big step towards that goal.