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Florida State’s Defense to Be Tested by Sweet-Shooting LMU

Third meeting of programs at Jacksonville Classic

The Florida State Seminoles/Loyola Marymount Lions matchup would have been a thrill a minute in the late 1980s when future NBA players Irving Thomas and Tharon Mayes could have led the Seminoles against the Bo Kimble/Hank Gathers Loyola Marymount squad.

Fast forward 30 years and there will still be plenty of offensive firepower on the floor when the teams meet on the first day of the Jacksonville Classic.

MJ Walker goes up for a shot Loyola Marymount vs Florida State Picks
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

The sportsbook has made Florida State a xx-point favorite in the matchup of 2-1 squads. Florida State has failed to cover in its last two games and both games went under the total.

The game is set for 5:30 p.m. and will air on CBS Sports Network.

Quintana is dialing long distance

No, Paul Ball is not back at Loyola Marymount although, with the way Joe Quintana has been knocking down three-pointers, there is no question that he would have fit right in when Paul Westhead’s shoot first and ask questions later propelled the Lions into national prominence.

Quintana is 14 of 29 from three-point range in the first three games of the season. He also made all 10 of his free throws as he averaged 20 points per contest during a 2-1 start.

Loyola Marymount became synonymous with offensive fireworks at Loyola Marymount during former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Paul Westhead’s time at the school.

The Lions set a Division I men’s record that still stands by scoring 186 points in a win over Alliant International on Jan. 5, 1991. They had five of the top 13 team scoring performances at the Division I level. The 1989-1990 squad set the NCAA Division I record by averaging 122.4 points per game breaking the record of 112.5 set by the 1989 squad. Loyola Marymount led the country in scoring for three consecutive seasons and the three-pointer was a huge part of that offense. That was never more evident than during the 1988-89 season when the Lions made a Division I-best 287 three-pointers in 31 games.

Quintana, a 6-foot-2 redshirt senior guard from West Covina, California, only made one of nine from three-point range in the season-opening win over Chattanooga but he went 13 of 20 from long distance in the next two games including a win over Arkansas Little Rock when the scores and odds listed Loyola Maryland as 13-point favorites. The Lions won 82-63.

Quintana and the 2-1 Lions hit the road for the first time when they play Florida State on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on the first day of the Jacksonville classic. The Lions will play either Missouri or Southern Methodist on Monday at either 6 or 8:30 p.m. with both games airing on CBS Sports Network.

Seminoles Turning Up the Pressure

The Florida State Seminoles haven’t shot the ball consistently well in the first three games of the season but one thing they have been doing since the season started is to get their hands on errant passes.

The Seminoles recorded 31 steals in the first three contests. Six different Florida State players have at least two steals led by RayQuan Evans’ seven steals.

Fifteen of those steals came in a season-opening win over Penn. After falling to Florida, the Seminoles had eight steals and an 8-2 advantage in fast-break points in a 59-54 win over Tulane. Evans showed he can do more than just steal the ball as he had four blocked shots against the Green Wave in addition to two steals.

“RayQuan is a very conscientious youngster,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said after the Tulane win. “He is a great teammate, has an unselfish spirit, he seems to always find a way to come up when you need him. I thought that was his competitive spirit tonight, when he wasn’t having a great offensive night, he showed up on the defensive end with his blocks and also his ability to contain the dribbling. He was a good leader on the defensive end.”

Two years ago during a 26-5 season, the Seminoles averaged 11.4 offensive rebounds, 8.8 steals and 5.2 blocked shots per game. It is still early but they are already ahead of that pace with 16 offensive rebounds, 10.3 steals and 6.3 blocked shots through the first three games.

Florida State is considered a national-championship contender and has +3300 odds to win the 2022 national title according to the March Madness odds.

Loyola Marymount Lions at Florida State Seminoles

The teams haven’t played since Florida State won 77-61 on Dec.18, 2011, with the Seminoles barely covering as 15-point favorites according to the college basketball spreads. They met exactly one year earlier with Florida State, a six-point road favorite, winning 74-63.

The team’s recruiting strategies are as different as the style of plays that will be on display on Sunday. Florida State has only three players from Florida on the team while Loyola Marymount’s roster includes 10 California natives.

Pick: Florida State


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