A brief history:
Although Boise does seem like an unusual site to host an NCAA Tournament game, especially for a team from the southeast like Florida State, it will not be the first time the Tribe has traveled to Idaho for tournament play. In 1992, the Seminoles started tournament play in Boise, and were very successful as Florida State beat Montana and Georgetown during their first trip to Boise in the big dance to advance to the Sweet 16.
The fifth seeded 'Noles will meet 12-seed Wisconsin for just the third time in school history. Florida State first played the Badgers back in 1961, a game where Wisconsin would come out on top. The only other meeting between the two universities was in the 2006 ACC/Big 10 Challenge, where Wisconsin would also defeat Florida State.
Meet the Badgers:
Trying to spoil Florida State's first trip to the dance in over a decade will the Badgers of Wisconsin, who finished sixth in the Big 10 this season (19-12, 10-8 Big 10). Wisconsin was the definition of a bubble team heading down the stretch, but won seven of their last 10 games including wins over tournament teams in Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois. Wisconsin is considered one of the last teams to make the field and will be looking to prove that they belong.
The badgers are led by senior Marcus Laundry, who provides experience and leadership necessary to be successful in the NCAA Tournament. Laundry only stands at 6'7", but plays much bigger that his size indicates as he leads his team in scoring (12.6 ppg) and is second in rebounding (4.5 rpg).
Running the backcourt for Wisconsin is junior Trevon Hughes from New York. Hughes is Wisconsin's second leading scorer (12 ppg) and leads the team in assists (2.9 apg), but his best asset may be the job he does on defense. He gave several guards fits in the Big 10 this season with his ability to stay between his man and the basket.
Also in the backcourt for Wisconsin is junior Jason Bohannon who has started to play his best basketball as of late. Bohannon is a good shooter and rarely misses if he is left open. He shot 37 percent from beyond the arch this season and is the team's third leading scorer at 10.3 ppg, which could easily become 15-20 if he heats up early in a game. Just ask Illinois, who Bohannon lit up in an early February meeting going 6-7 from downtown.
Florida State's Toney Douglas vs. Wisconsin's Trevon Hughes.
Douglas is the only player for Florida State who averages double figures in scoring (21.3 ppg) and will have to face a defense oriented team with a great individual defender in Hughes. Both players play a significant role in their team's respective offenses, but Douglas is forced to carry more of a load. Douglas' opportunities in this game may be limited and he will have to make sure he takes advantage whenever he gets a clean look at the basket. Douglas will have to be patient and work the ball inside and around the perimeter early, and look to take over in the second half, much like he did during the majority of ACC play this season.
Florida State's Solomon Alibi and Wisconsin's John Leuer.
Alibi has made more progress than any player on Florida State's roster throughout the course of the season. He is a presence inside on defense and blocks or changes almost any shot that is taken inside the paint. Alibi has also come along offensively showing a solid jump hook inside, and the ability to step out and hit a jumper from 15 feet and in. Sophomore Jon Leuer will have the task of defending Alibi. Leuer is 6'10" and can be physical at times, but Alibi should be able to take advantage of this match-up and provide an extra boost on offense for the Tribe from the inside opening up the perimeter for Douglas and company.
On the flip side, Leuer can also add a boost on offense for the Badgers as his abilities are not limited to the post. Leuer has a nice stroke from the outside for someone of his height and he can make teams pay who leave him open. Earlier this season, Leuer went 5-5 from beyond the arch and scored 25 points in a game against Michigan.
What to expect:
Both teams play relatively low scoring games and use solid defense, rather than a high powered offense to win games. Florida State will try to play a little more up-tempo against Wisconsin and force to Badgers to run, which will favor the Seminoles greatly. Expect this game to be fairly close most of the way, and if it comes down to the wire, Florida State will not be in uncharted waters as they boast a 13-3 record in games decided by five or fewer points. Douglas will get his and Wisconsin will use balanced scoring to stay in the game.
It seems that every year, at least one 12-seed knocks off a 5-seed in the tournament. Toney Douglas will be the best player on the court and it will show as he puts a young Seminole team on his back during this game and puts forth his best effort to will FSU into the second round. Don't expect anything near a shootout in this first round match-up, but it should be a good game most of the way with defenses controlling the pace. Ultimately, it will come down to Douglas running the show like he has done all season long. If he can do that and Florida State shows up with at least their ‘B' game, it should be enough to move them into the round of 32.
Florida State 67 Wisconsin 60
Friday night special: A shot of Wisky
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