(2) Notre Dame vs. (10) Florida State
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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(2) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish found themselves in a much closer ball game than they were expecting to be in against the Akron Zips. They led by just four at the half, but Notre Dame managed to avoid the upset 69-56. They were led by the 15 points, 11 of which came in the first half, of Ben Hansbrough. Carleton Scott was great on the boards with 14 himself as the Fighting Irish outrebounded the Zips 35-27. Where the Zips were able to have some success against Notre Dame was the turnover category. The forced 13 turnovers, something that the Fighting Irish need to shore up against a Florida State defense that is amongst the best in the tournament. Defensively the Fighting Irish looked good themselves, getting stops when they needed them in the second half.
(10) Florida State Seminoles
All year long the trademark of the Florida State Seminoles has been their defense and on Friday the Texas A&M Aggies found out just how good it can be. The Seminoles saw Chris Singelton, their leading scorer and best player, make his return from a foot injury that has kept him out since February 19th. He wasn’t at his best, but as a team the Seminoles seemed much more confident knowing that he’s back and ready to go. Dewin Kitchen took over the role as the leading scorer, going for 15 on 4-8 shooting from the field and 2-4 from deep. The Aggies struggled mightily to score against the Seminoles defense. Khris Middleton got his with 16, but it wasn’t enough to cancel out some poor free throw shooting. The Seminoles benefitted from 10 missed free throws by the Aggies. Against Notre Dame the Seminoles need to keep up the defensive intensity and hope that Singleton regains his lottery-pick form quickly.
HOOPSWORLD’s Pick: Notre Dame. This is going to be a game where points come at a premium. We’re going to bank on Ben Hansbrough and company being just a little bit better offensively to earn their ticket to the Sweet 16.