At 5-0 in the ACC, Notre Dame basketball is only beginning their conference season.
Until losing their first ACC game to North Carolina, Florida State was the only thing standing in the way of Notre Dame leading the conference. But as the Irish were snapping their second team’s home win streak, the Seminoles were falling to the Tar Heels.
Now, the current ACC leader and former ACC leader battle. As #10 and #15 in the country, this game is worth more than the average conference matchup.
A win against the Seminoles would give Notre Dame their second top 10 win of the season. Along with staying unbeaten and atop the ACC, the Irish would likely move up the AP Polls.
On the other hand, a loss would move them to third in the ACC, give them their third top 25 loss of the year, and probably move them down or stall them in the AP Poll. If it isn’t already clear, this game is worth much more than your standard Notre Dame vs Florida State matchup.
If you’ve watched an FSU game this season, you would’ve notice that their success comes from Dwayne Bacon. As the Seminoles leading scorer, this 6’7 guard hasn’t had a game under 10 points this year.
Standing 6’7 heigh, Notre Dame can’t rely on Matt Farrell to cover Bacon. Instead, chances are they turn to Steve Vasturia, the 6’6 senior captain, to man up against FSU’s biggest scoring threat.
As usual, Bonzie Colson will have one of the tougher matchups of the evening. Facing up with Jonathan Isaac, Colson will be playing a true ACC big man.
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At 6’10, 210-pounds, Isaac has Colson beat by five inches. But as strange as it may seem, Colson’s 225-pound frame may make it easier for him to control Isaac in the paint. Averaging just 7.5 rebounds per game, Isaac hasn’t been the dominant force the Seminoles hoped he’d during his freshman season.
This game comes down to offense once again. Notre Dame needs to control the tempo, but also put points on the board. FSU is going to score. No matter how well the Irish slow the pace-of-game, the Seminoles will put up points. Averaging 86.5 points per game, Florida State hasn’t found trouble scoring this season, and that isn’t going to change in this game.
Notre Dame should be able to keep them below their average. But if they want to pull off this victory, the Irish will need to rely on their offense just as much as their defense. Scoring less than 75 points probably won’t be enough to outlast Florida State.
If Farrell, Colson, and Vasturia come out hot, though, Notre Dame could be in good shape. When these three have big games, the Irish tend to find a way to win. If they can quiet the crowd and make FSU keep up to them, they’ll pull off this victory.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame finishes their road trip 3-0, barely beating Florida State, 79-75.
This will be Notre Dame’s toughest game of the season. Florida State is hot. Despite a loss to North Carolina, the Seminoles are still one of the best teams in the country.
But Notre Dame’s stronger post presence is going to be the deciding factor. If Vasturia and Farrell can get hot and stay hot, they’ll basically eliminate Bacon’s contribution. From there, they’ll put the game in Colson’s hands.
If he’s able to dominate the boards, put up solid scoring numbers, and keep Isaac a nonfactor, which he easily can, he’ll hand FSU another ACC loss. Knowing how well Colson has played all season, asking him to be the determining factor isn’t asking much.
Notre Dame should move to 6-0 in the ACC and prove once again that they’re one of the best teams in the country.