After a couple more wins in Tallahassee, the No. 11 Florida State basketball program has hit the road again. The ’Noles will play in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL, facing the Saint Louis Billikens at the BB&T Center.
The game will tip off this afternoon at 2:30 and can be viewed on FS2. But to answer the question you’re really asking, a Billiken is a mythical good-luck figure.
But SLU has been anything but lucky this year, entering this game as just the 260th luckiest team in D-1 basketball, per KenPom. Saint Louis (from the A10) is a respectable No. 82 in those advanced rankings, but it’s not achieved its 8-3 record by rubbing a rabbit’s foot. The Billikens play excellent defense— they’re the 14th most efficient defense in the country, and have yet to allow more than 75 points in a game. So, Florida State could really put itself behind the eight ball if it starts as slow as it has recently, as coming back could prove an even more daunting prospect than normal.
Offensively, SLU, is just 215th, nationally, and led by senior guard Javon Bess, who transferred to Saint Louis after a couple of years at Michigan State. The 6’6 Bess leads the Billikens in both scoring (15 PPG) and boards (7.3 RPG), while averaging just a lone turnover per contest. Bess hits threes at a 39.3% clip and sinks free throws 81.1% of the time.
FSU and SLU already have a couple of common opponents. Saint Louis opened the season by beating Southeast Missouri State 75-65, while the Seminoles topped SEMO 85-68 on Monday. The Billikens followed that up with a 62-58 victory over Troy; the ’Noles put away the Trojans by a score of 83-67.
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