FSU Basketball defeated Virginia Tech and Notre Dame downed Virginia, setting up a Round Three between the two programs in the ACC Semifinals.
FSU Basketball pulled off a big win against the Virginia Tech Hokies on Thursday night, putting them through to the ACC conference tournament semifinals. Afterwards, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (rather easily) handled the Virginia Cavaliers in the other quarterfinal, setting up a third matchup between the two historically football-centric schools.
In the first game between ND and FSU, in Tallahassee, the Seminoles squeaked out a win, though it wasn’t easy. The Irish went an obscene 15-for-21 from three-point range. They had four players score in double-digits, led by Steve Vasturia, with 18.
But thanks to some timely shot-making by Florida State, and opportune defense late, they took the game 83-80. Freshman Jonathan Isaac led the way with 23 points on just nine shots.
The second time the two schools met, just two weeks later on Feb. 11, was a different story. The Seminoles struggled on offense, were even worse on defense, and got blown out 84-72. ND stud big man Bonzie Colson (who may or may not have a neck) led all scorers with 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting.
Florida State shot an unsightly 7-of-22 from the free-throw line in the game. Seven. For. Twenty-two. That’s 31.8 percent, lower than Shaquille O’Neal’s career average. Terrance Mann had 15 points for the Seminoles.
Last Time the ‘Noles Took the Court
Florida State were extremely poor on offense against Virginia Tech, but it didn’t matter. The Hokies play just seven guys typically, and they had just played the day before. They simply ran out of gas. And once their leading scorer — Zach Leday — picked up his fourth foul halfway through the second half, the went from up five to down five.
Ultimately, after some more ugly offense late, the Seminoles won 74-68. Dwayne Bacon led the way with 17 points, making just four of his 17 shot attempts. Regardless, it was good to see him be aggressive and not mope after he started 1-for-8. Isaac 11 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.
As a team, Florida State shot 40 percent and made just three three-pointers of their 16 attempts from deep. They made up for it by going 19-for-23 from the foul line. Leday scored 22 points on 12 shot attempts for the Hokies.
Florida State Seminoles Basketball
After the last meeting between the two programs, ND went on a bit of a roll. The Irish went 5-1 after beating FSU, the only loss coming on the road at Louisville.
According to KenPom, the guys from South Bend are the 25th-best team in the country, with the 14th-most efficient offense and 60th defense. ND shoot 80.5 percent from the foul line, 46.3 from the floor and almost 39 percent from three. Their 1.17 points per possession is the 14th-highest clip in college basketball.
Basically, their offense is awesome, their defense is mediocre.
Two players to watch out for (obviously) are Vasturia and Colson. From before the teams’ last meeting in mid-February:
"ND is led by junior forward Bonzie Colson (a guy Florida State heavily recruited). Colson is a tough, old-school type of big man, who scores 16 points on average, to go with 11 rebounds, a block, and a steal. He’s also an 87 percent free-throw shooter. Yeah, he’s good.There’s also senior guard Steve Vasturia, averaging 15 points, four rebounds, and four assists per game. He’s a deadly shooter, who’s at 44 percent from three and 91 percent from the line. As a team, the Irish shoot 83 percent from the line (wow), so FSU’s defense will have to play hard but try to avoid fouling."
Colson absolutely destroyed the Seminoles in their last meeting, so Isaac, Michael Ojo, Jarquez Smith and the rest of the big man rotation has to do a better job slowing down the low-post menace. Vasturia is a really good shooter, so also, maybe try not to leave him open.
Point Spread/How to Watch
Somewhat surprisingly, Florida State is favored in this matchup. Via Odds Shark, the Seminoles are -1.5 points in tonight’s game. It makes sense, but they need their offense to be humming compared to last night. They cannot go 3-for-16 from three again.
To watch this game, just tune into ESPN at 9 pm ET. Huge game, a win gets you in the ACC Tournament Final. We can do this. Go ‘Noles!