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FSU basketball faces Manhattan in the Orange Bowl Classic

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Hampton vs Manhattan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In “How to Game the RPI, 101” the first lesson is neutral site games. If you were to play and win five straight home games, the RPI would say, “congratulations on your 3-0 record.” Play those same games on a neutral floor and the RPI thinks your record is 5-0. The reason is that games are weighted. A home win counts as 0.6 wins. A neutral win is worth 1.0, and road win is worth 1.4.

So keep playing the Orange Bowl Classic, Seminoles. The ‘Noles are 6-0 playing in Sunrise, and should be 7-0 after today’s game.

Manhattan and head coach Steve Maisello were on to something when they made back-to-back NCAAT appearances. But they did that with talent that you don’t typically find in the MAAC conference. It was all scheduled to continue when they landed a 5* recruit transfer from Cincinnati, but Jermain Lawrence couldn’t keep it together and ended up getting kicked off the team. Couple that with more attrition and injuries, and Manhattan - a team which utilizes depth in a similar fashion as Florida State - suddenly found themselves short-handed and really struggled last year.

Now they have a full roster, though the record (3-7) isn’t any better. Manhattan’s offense has been terrible. They’re 350th out of 351 teams in turnovers - though a meltdown 40 against West Virginia certainly influences this stat. And they’re not a good shooting team. They have several guys who can make 3s, but the bad shooters take way too many. The one thing they do well is grab their own misses (34th nationally), so FSU will really have to focus on controlling the boards.

Defensively, Manhattan is decent. Their one issue has been allowing nearly the most (348th) free throws in the nation.

The player to watch is 5-9 junior Zavier Turner. The Ball State transfer is averaging 17.0 points per game and is making 45% of his 3s. Shut him down and this should be a cakewalk.

The game tips at 1:30 PM and will be broadcast on various Fox Sports affiliates (FS Florida, Sun Sports, FS 2). The Seminoles are favored by 24.