This Isn't Tallahassee
Although this game is being played at the Amway Center in Orlando and both schools will surely have raucous crowds, it is still a neutral site contest. And of Florida State's eight losses on the season, all eight came at a neutral site or road game. In a few of those games FSU looked fast asleep in the first half, trailing two non-tournament teams at the break (down 15-41 to Georgia Tech, 26-44 to Syracuse). If FGCU can attack right out of the gate and keep it close at halftime like they did against Florida and Michigan State, they'll be in a good position to take down the Seminoles.
Demetris Morant vs. Jonathan Isaac
As Joe Dooley said in the Selection Show press conference, Florida State is "measurably, the biggest team in the country." Leading the group is 6-foot-10 freshman Jonathan Isaac who averages 11.9 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game. Likely matching up with Isaac will be springy forward Demetris Morant. With 96 dunks on the season, the FGCU big man is shooting 75.7% from the field but will have to get more creative around the rim against Isaac, who is averaging 1.5 blocks per game.
Despite his size, Isaac also possesses the ability to go outside and either knock down jumpers or attack the paint. Because of that, I think we might see Kevin Mickle shadowing Isaac as well. Mickle, with a little more a lateral quickness and versatility, has proved to be a tremendous defender for the Eagles.
Although Florida Gulf Coast and Florida State have met just once before - resulting in a 58-53 FSU victory in in the 2014 NIT - there are some deeper connections between these two schools. Former FGCU head coach Andy Enfield served as an assistant at FSU before coming down to Fort Myers. Current Eagles assistant coach Michael Fly, one of the few holdovers from the 2012-13 Sweet 16 run, worked as the Seminoles video coordinator before joining FGCU with Enfield.
"He's got familiarity with that system. I think that always helps. Anytime you've been around it, know what people are thinking and what they like to do - those are things that always factor in," said FGCU head coach Joe Dooley.