At this point in ACC play there are no secrets. FSU knows what Notre Dame is going to do. Notre Dame knows what Florida State is going to do. It’s all about execution.
Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame’s undersized post player, has had eight double-doubles in their last 13 games. He went off for 33 and 13 the last time these two teams played. FSU could try and mix in their recently discovered matchup zone to slow him down, but that style of zone could really backfire as it feeds into ND’s strength: misdirection.
The Irish are undersized, but they feature a stable of players who can knock down 3s (41% of their shots are 3-pointers), a point guard who is difficult to contain off the dribble, and experienced, skilled wings.
FSU’s defense has been decent versus Notre Dame this year (1.08 points per possession), and the difference in the two games was that FSU’s offense went off in the first game, and struggled in the 2nd. The ‘Noles will attempt to attack at the rim. In the two previous games, 75% of FSU’s attempts were 2s (compared to 63% versus everyone else). Specifically, they’ll go right at Bonzie Colson. He’s a great defender, but any foul trouble on their star could be the difference in this game.
Both teams struggled from beyond the arc in the quarterfinals. Notre Dame shot 30% and FSU made just 19%. The ‘Noles have shot well at the Barclays Center in the past. In two preseason NIT games in November, the ‘Noles made 17-33s 3s (52%).
Dwayne Bacon (hand), and Jonathan Isaac (foot), are both banged up, so their health could have a big impact on the game. If they’re slowed down, then the bench will play a much larger role.
The winner advances to the ACC Championship versus either Duke or North Carolina. Notre Dame beat UNC for the title in 2015, and FSU did the same in 2012.
The game is listed as a 9 PM tip on ESPN, but it will likely be closer to 9:30 as it follows 20 minutes after the 7 PM UNC-Duke game. FSU opened as a 2.5 point favorite.