Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Hoops Preview: No. 15 Notre Dame at No. 10 Florida State

January 18, 2017

No. 15 Notre Dame (16-2, 5-0) at No. 10 Florida State (16-2, 4-1)

Date: January 18
Where: Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, Tallahassee, Florida
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET.
TV: ACC Network and Regional Affiliates
List of affiliates carrying the game: LINK 

Quick Facts

- Wednesday will mark the fifth meeting between the two schools.
- The Seminoles hold a 3-1 advantage in the series.
- Florida State has won 15 straight games at home.
- Notre Dame’s 5-0 start in conference play is the best five-game start to conference play in school history.
- The Irish matched Mike Brey’s best start at Notre Dame at 16-2.

The Starters

(Per Game Averages)
Notre Dame
Matt Farrell: 14.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 5.4 APG
Steve Vasturia: 15.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 3.3 APG
VJ Beachem: 13.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 1.0 APG
Bonzie Colson: 15.8 PPG, 10.9 RPG and 1.8 APG
Martinas Geben: 4.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 0.4 APG

Florida State
Xavier Rathan-Mayes: 10.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 4.7 APG
Dwayne Bacon: 17.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 1.8 APG
Terance Mann: 9.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 1.8 APG
Jonathan Isaac: 12.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 1.0 APG
Michael Ojo: 5.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 0.1 APG

How They Matchup

(National Rank)

Scoring Offense: Florida State: 86.5 PPG (13) – Notre Dame: 81.1 PPG (40)
Scoring Defense: Florida State: 70.4 PPG (139) – Notre Dame: 66.7 PPG (62)
Rebound Margin: Florida State: 3.9 (80) – Notre Dame: 1.5 (156)
Field-Goal Percentage: Florida State: 50.5% (7) – Notre Dame: 47.0% (65)
Three-Point Percentage: Florida State: 37.0% (97) – Notre Dame: 39.5% (28)
Three-Pointers Made: Florida State: 7.1 (200) – Notre Dame: 9.7 (20)
Free-Throw Percentage: Florida State: 69.2% (184) – Notre Dame: 82.8% (1)

Before the season started, it was easy to see this game stick out, as it was the final game of three-game road trip for the Irish and it could be a game that puts Notre Dame into March Madness with a win. Few people likely saw this game as a chance for Notre Dame to move to 6-0 in the nation’s toughest conference.

Notre Dame sits by itself at the top of the ACC and Wednesday is a chance to push themselves into a firm grasp at the top. However, Florida State is the No. 10 team in the country for good reason. The Noles are talented, athletic and long, all of which scream not a good matchup for the Irish.

The good news for Notre Dame is that they haven’t let bigger and more athletic teams beat them in league play. Notre Dame will absolutely need to win the battle on the boards on Wednesday against a big front line for the Noles. Jonathan Isaac is 6-foot-10 and Michael Ojo comes in at 7-foot-1. Controlling the boards will limit second chance points to a team that is Top 15 in points score per game.

It may sound like we’re beating a drum, but VJ Beachem does need to show up on Wednesday night. Notre Dame has been maxing out play from the bench and role players to get to 5-0, but they need the star of the show to come up big when the lights are the brightest. Beachem needs to be a weapon and not a decoy on Wednesday.

There is a high chance this game turns into a high-scoring affairs as both teams can put the rock in the cup with the best in the country. Can Notre Dame get one of its signature runs to end the game?

Notre Dame Closing Runs in ACC Play

Pittsburgh: 8-2 run over the final 2:25
Louisville: 9-2 run over the final 2:00
Clemson: 8-2 run the last 2:17
Miami: 10-1 run over the last 2:53
Virginia Tech: 10-4 run over the final 1:52

If Notre Dame can close with a sixth-straight big run to put the Noles away, then you might just see a Top 10 ranking if the Irish can knock off Syracuse on Saturday.

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