College Basketball Betting: How Good is Florida State?
Florida State has been making a ton of noise the past two weeks with five straight ACC wins and a perfect 5-0 against the number. The Seminoles now sit at 13th in KenPom’s holy rankings, up from a year-low of 35th following their December 29 loss to Clemson.
FSU’s hot streak is not an anomaly – this is an extremely talented and well-coached basketball team that has the enviable mix of young phenoms (i.e. Scottie Barnes and Balsa Koprivica) and veteran leadership (i.e. MJ Walker and Raiquan Gray). Shooting has helped FSU emerge as an ACC favorite – the ‘Noles are a scorching 46.5% from downtown in their last five games and 38.7% overall on the season. While we should expect some regression to this overly hot shooting, FSU does have high-quality shooters on its roster with proven track records.
Anthony Polite is definitely shooting beyond his ability, and maybe the same can be said about MJ Walker – but he’s been categorically better in everything this season, finally living up to his top-30 recruit billing as a senior. Additionally, there’s even some shooting improvement likely coming down the road with Malik Osborne, a former Rice transfer who is better than his sub-30% three-point percentage suggests. Furthermore, JUCO import Sardaar Calhoun is canning 46.4% of his trey-ball tries this year, a completely reasonable percentage given his 89-of-195 (45.6%) performance last season at Missouri State-West Plains. In conclusion, we should buy the fact that FSU can shoot.
FSU’s success goes beyond shooting, though. Leonard Hamilton has once again amassed the biggest roster in college basketball, boasting ten rotation players over 6’5” and four over 6’9”. This size has contributed to the Noles’ 17th-best offensive rebounding rate – FSU doesn’t miss often, and when it does it usually grabs the miss.
Depth has also been a major factor in FSU’s run to the top of the ACC. FSU ranks 20th nationally in bench minutes, and Hamilton uses 10 or 11 guys nearly every game. That kind of depth just doesn’t exist in college basketball, especially at the Power 6 level.
Finally, high-end talent oozes throughout this roster. Aside from the 4-star Walker, Hamilton has 5-star Scottie Barnes running point at 6’9”, and three more former 4-stars in Balsa Koprivica, RaiQuan Gray, Wyatt Wilkes, and Anthony Polite. When taking into account the combination of raw talent, size, depth, and shooting it’s no wonder Florida State has emerged as a legit ACC title favorite and Final Four contender.
From a gambling perspective, I don’t think it’s too late to jump on the FSU bandwagon – this is a potentially top-five team being priced largely as a top-15 team. Per Bart Torvik, FSU has been the 5th best team in the country behind Baylor, Alabama, Gonzaga, and Houston, since its January 13th win over NC State. OVERs involving FSU have been profitable as well during the five-game streak, going 4-1 thanks to FSU’s #1 adjusted offense since January 13th (again, per Bart Torvik) and so-so 59th-ranked adjusted defense. While the total trend might not hold given it’s been driven by crazy efficiency and not pace, I truly believe FSU is a solid side bet over the next few games.
Follow BettorIQ contributor Ky McKeon @Ky_3MW.