On Monday, the Round of 32 of the NCAA Basketball Tournament (aka the second round) continues with eight games that constitute half of the second-round games. For the 2020-2021 season, 347 college basketball teams played and only 32 have a chance of winning the championship. Of all the second round NCAA Tournament matchups on Monday, arguably the most compelling is the matchup between Colorado and Florida. Here’s why, for my NCAAB pick, I believe Colorado beats Florida State and makes the Sweet 16.
Colorado Buffaloes vs. Florida State Seminoles
Monday, March 22, 2021 – 07:45 PM EDT at Indiana Farmers Coliseum
- Colorado (5): 23-8
- Florida State (4): 17-6
Stakes of the Matchup
Florida State finished the regular season with a 17-6 overall record and a 13-4 record in conference play. FSU’s conference record is even more impressive when you consider that they played in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) which is rated as the 5th strongest conference this season according to basketball analytics website KenPom.
In the past the ACC was regarded as the toughest college basketball conference as it has many perennial national championship contenders. However, Duke which is usually a one or two seed in the NCAA Tournament, failed to make it to the big dance this season. Only Syracuse remains after improbable upsets over BYU and West Virginia. Besides Syracuse, the ACC’s tournament record this season has been bleak as evidenced by ugly first round exits by Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Clemson. The question for FSU is if they can fare better than the rest of their conference in the tournament as they entered the tournament ranked as the 14th best team in the country according to the AP Top 25.
Colorado like FSU is ranked in the AP Top 25 as they are ranked as the 22nd best team in the country. However according to KenPom’s ratings, CU is the 10th best team in the country and Florida State is the 17th best. Colorado finished the season with a 23-8 overall record and a 14-6 record in conference play. The Buffaloes play in the Pac-12 which is ironic when you consider that Colorado is in the Rocky Mountains not on the Pacific Ocean. Despite the Pac-12 being poorly named, the Pac-12 is rated at the 4th strongest conference. Additionally, like FSU, CU lost their conference championship game against a much weaker team. The question for CU and FSU is which team will bring their best performance as they are both evenly matched.
How Colorado and Florida State Match-Up
Besides playing in two different conferences, Colorado and Florida State are nearly identical to each other on paper. Both team’s offenses are their biggest strengths as the Buffaloes have the 11th best adjusted efficiency and the Seminoles have the 13th best adjusted efficiency. Additionally, both teams’ have comparable defenses as CU has the 25th best adjusted defensive efficiency and FSU the 42nd best.
The only real difference between the two teams is in tempo. Colorado prefers to control the pace as they had the 83rd slowest adjusted tempo this season. Florida State unlike Colorado plays at a fast tempo as they had the 88th fastest tempo this season. However, in my opinion the differences in pace are not big enough to radically effect Monday’s game.
Good arguments can be made for either side of Monday’s game from a betting perspective. For Florida State it can be argued should win because they play in a tougher conference and have done well this season. However, I believe that Colorado State should be slightly favored and that is why I like them to cover as +1.5 underdogs.
I debated whether to take the Colorado spread or moneyline but decided on the moneyline after using the Sportsbook Review spread to moneyline calculator. According the calculator, a +1.5 (-110) underdog should be a +105 moneyline underdog, so both sides were priced efficiently. Based on the close games played this tournament I would rather have the extra point and a half rather than picking Colorado outright.
The Buffaloes completely manhandled a difficult Georgetown team in the first round. I am confident that they can replicate that performance against FSU, and that is why I am backing CU on Monday night.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.