Preview: #7 Florida State at Notre Dame
There's a lot on the line in this ACC battle
- We have a Wednesday night battle in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as the Florida State Seminoles travel to South Bend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
- Florida State (-1.5) is looking to take a step towards clinching the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament, while Notre Dame is trying to add a quality win to their NCAA Tournament resume.
- For more information on this game, see our Florida State vs. Notre Dame prediction below.
Last week was quite a roller-coaster for the Florida State Seminoles. It began last Monday when they had a big showdown with the Louisville Cardinals. Both teams were near the top of the ACC leaderboard, so it was billed as a contest that would go a long way towards deciding the regular-season ACC championship. The Seminoles struggled early in the game, trailing 40-32 at halftime. In the 2nd half, Florida State began to catch fire. They scored 50 points in the 2nd half and ended up winning 82-67. With that win, the Seminoles became the favorites to win the ACC. On Saturday, their path to the ACC regular-season championship became a bit murkier.
Florida State had to go on the road and face the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers aren't a great team, but they have proven capable of pulling off big upsets this season. The Seminoles would be their latest victim as they fell 70-69 and watched the Clemson fans rush the court to end the game. It was the classic letdown spot to win a huge home game against a top-15 team and then follow it up with a road loss to an unranked squad. Despite the Clemson loss, the Noles still control their destiny in the ACC. Louisville and Florida State both have 4 losses in ACC play, but FSU owns the tiebreaker over the Cardinals after sweeping them in their two meetings this year.
Nationally, the Seminoles are getting a great deal of respect. Florida State is currently projected to be a two-seed in the NCAA tournament by ESPN's Joe Lunardi. They are ranked 7th in the AP Top 25 poll and 11th in the NCAA's NET rankings. If FSU can win the ACC regular season title and the conference tournament, they will have an argument that they are deserving of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
As the college basketball regular season approaches its end, it doesn't look like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a great chance at making the NCAA tournament. The Fighting Irish are 18-11 overall with a 9-9 conference record. Aside from the ACC's top 4 teams (Louisville, Florida State, Duke, Virginia), no one in the ACC can safely claim that they will make the NCAA tournament. The ACC has five teams that are hovering around .500 in conference play and Notre Dame is one of them. Notre Dame is unranked in the Top 25 Associated Press Poll and ranked 58th in the NCAA's NET rankings.
It is difficult to find any quality wins on Notre Dame's resume. Every single win Notre Dame has is against a team that has 11 or more losses. Their best wins have come against UCLA, Syracuse, Georgia Tech (twice), and Clemson. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, they've had many close losses to respected teams. They lost to Indiana 62-60, Louisville 67-64, Florida State 85-84, and Virginia 50-49 (OT). If they had won two of those games, Notre Dame would probably be seen as an NCAA tournament team. Partly because of so many close defeats, they are 0-5 against the AP Top 25. Notre Dame's NCAA prospects have also been hampered by bad losses to teams like North Carolina, Boston College, and Wake Forest. However, the Irish still have an opportunity to notch a big win in this contest. A victory over Florida State tonight would be the most impressive win of their season. The Irish proved on FSU's home floor that they have the ability to hang tough with the Seminoles in their earlier meeting. The question is whether or not Notre Dame can finally seal the deal. If they can, their NCAA tournament prospects will certainly get a boost.
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