On Thursday, Florida State traveled to Duke to face the No. 2 offense in the nation. Now FSU returns home in a Saturday afternoon showdown against the only team in the country with a better offense than the Blue Devils.
No. 20 Notre Dame (19-8, 10-5) features the most efficient attack in the country. Four of five starters are upperclassmen. Only two teams nationally turn the ball over less often. And there is really nothing on that end of the floor that they don't do well. They even grind out nearly 20 seconds per possession, which makes them the 10th slowest team in the nation, so once they build a lead it is difficult to overcome even with Notre Dame's traditionally terrible defense.
They are led by stud junior Demetrius Jackson, who averages 16.4 per game. Even though he's small (6-1) he's able to play above the rim with ease. He's also strong and adept at using his body to shield off defenders on the drive, and he doesn't need screens to get into the lane. Draft Express has him as the No. 11 pick in the upcoming draft.
Senior big man Zach Auguste averages 14.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He has great footwork and good touch around the rim. With his skillset he's small (6-10) for the NBA, but plenty big to dominate in the ACC.
He's paired on the inside with sophomore Bonzi Colson (12.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg), who is only 6-5 but has freakishly long arms.
Rounding out the starting five are sharpshooters Steve Vasturia (12.7 ppg, 40% from deep) and VJ Beachem (11.5, 42%).
No team this year has held Notre Dame below a point per possession, and FSU certainly won't do that considering how poor the defense has been playing.
Luckily, the Notre Dame defense is terrible. The only defenses that have been worse in conference play are Boston College, Wake Forest, and NC State. FSU's offense averaged 1.16 per possession against those three, and will need at least that against ND.
In a 70 possession game, that would equate to 81+ points.
The Noles need the win to reestablish any semblance of confidence heading into the ACC tournament. Another loss would give FSU their longest losing streak in 11 years.
The game tips Saturday at 4 PM and will be broadcast on ESPN2. The Irish opened as 1-point favorites.