NIT gameday preview: Gophers vs. Florida State

  • Updated: March 31, 2014 - 8:52 PM

gophers gameday

8 P.M. VS. FLORIDA STATE • MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NEW YORK • ESPN2, 1500-AM

Gophers at a glance: The Gophers are back where they were two years ago, in New York. Having disposed of three consecutive opponents in the opening rounds, Minnesota is on the doorstep of another NIT title game. First, the Gophers have to go through Florida State, a team they beat 71-61 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Williams Arena in December. Since then, backup center Mo Walker — who was only in his fourth game back in the first meeting after serving a six-game suspension — has emerged to become a legitimate scoring force inside. But Minnesota will need him to be as durable as ever with Elliott Eliason (left ankle) likely out for the game. The Gophers have held opponents to 45 percent shooting or worse in five of the past six games. Senior guard Austin Hollins is coming off a career-high 32-point performance vs. Southern Miss.

Florida State at a glance: The Seminoles were in a similar position as the Gophers a month ago, teetering on the NCAA bubble. Once their fate was decided, they made the most of it. Florida State is one of three top seeds to advance to the final week of play. In their first game vs. the Gophers, the Seminoles managed to sink two of 10 three-pointers. But currently, Florida State is ranked 28th in the nation in percentage from beyond the arc, making 38.6 percent. Minnesota has allowed opponents to shoot 44.2 percent from that range during the NIT. The Seminoles also will try to exploit their size advantage. Florida State is ranked third nationally in average height and boasts twin towers, 7-1 Michael Ojo and 7-3 Boris Bojanovsky, in the paint. The Seminoles are ranked 23rd nationally in block percentage (13.8).

AMELIA RAYNO

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