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Florida State makes an emphatic statement against No. 10 VCU

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Entering the Puerto Rico Tip-Off there were some who wondered just how good the Florida State Seminoles were. With a 3-0 record and the best victory coming at UCF, No. 10 VCU represented a significant challenge for Leonard Hamilton’s team. Or so we thought.

Despite turning the ball over 25 times Florida State controlled play for much of the night, shooting 53.7% from the field while limiting the Rams to 29.3% shooting on their way to an emphatic 85-67 victory that was even more lopsided than the final margin would indicate. Guards Ian Miller (22 points, six rebounds and four assists) and Devon Bookert (18 and four rebounds) led the way offensively for Florida State, with four players scoring in double figures.

For Florida State turnovers have been an issue in each of their four games, but the miscues didn’t cost the Seminoles thanks in large part to their effort on the defensive end. VCU shot 5-for-23 from beyond the arc on the night, as Florida State’s half-court defense resulted in a number of challenged looks from the perimeter.

With athletic players such as Montay Brandon (14 points, 11 rebounds against VCU), Okaro White (14 and nine) and Robert Gilchrist in the front court and Bookert and Miller on the perimeter, Florida State matched up well with VCU. But it’s hard to say that anyone expected Florida State to be as dominant as they were, leading by as many as 30 in the second half. FSU also controlled the boards, rebounding 75% of VCU’s missed shots with the Rams attempting 20 more field goals than the Seminoles.

Next up for Florida State is a matchup with Michigan in the semifinals on Friday, and a team some thought could fight its way onto the NCAA tournament bubble can pick up a second quality win of the weekend. In order to do that Florida State will have to take better care of the basketball, as a turnover percentage of 29.1% (FSU turned the ball over on 24.3% of their possessions entering Thursday) won’t get the job done against the Wolverines.

How good is Florida State? While there’s still plenty of basketball to be played both outside of and within the ACC, Thursday’s performance showed that the Seminoles have the talent needed to surprise some people.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: