#10 Seed Florida State Upsets #2 Seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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You could say this was payback for the storied 1993 #1 vs. #2 college football game of the century between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Florida State Seminoles. It was the first ever ND-FSU meeting in college basketball, and the ‘Noles ran away with it 71-57. In a game that was never really ever in doubt after the first ten minutes.

The east coast really smacked up the hoosier state in this United Center double dip as the VCU Rams beat the Purdue Boilermakers 94-76 in the first game of the Chicago NCAA doubleheader.

By Paul M. Banks

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The ball just would not stay down for the Irish, as they shot just 7-30 (23%) from behind the arc. Tim Abromaitis led the Irish with 21 points, but most them came in garbage time. Ben Hansbrough fouled out in the waning minutes and finished with 18. Scott Martin tweaked his back early in the first half, and played most of the game a shell of his usual self; he finished scoreless. Carelton Scott, with the chance to play in his hometown of San Antonio Texas on the line, played arguably the worst game of his life- shooting 1-10.

The loss is especially devastating to Mike Brey who falls to 1-4 in the round of 32. Three of those last four tournament elimination games were at the hands of a lower seed. For a team that was squarely in the conversation for a #1 seed on Selection Sunday, not even reaching the second weekend of the tourney is a tremendous disappointment.

Obviously, you’re going to have your nights where you can’t hit any shots. It seemed like the first 30 minutes of the game we couldn’t make anything. We normally make those shots, and, obviously, Florida State’s defense had a lot to do with it. And their length and athleticism made them able to close out on guys quick,” Tim Abromaitis said.

“I would say they definitely affected shots, but I would say part of it is it’s just one of those nights where shots don’t go down.”

The Irish never play more than seven guys, but Joey Brooks, a 6’6 sophomore guard who rarely sees the court, played enough minutes to foul out. Numerous starters and key contributors spent most of the game in foul trouble.

“Right now it’s difficult to put into words. We had a great year. Of course, we want to still be playing, but we’ve got a great group of guys. It’s family. You know, it was great coming in every day, just with your brothers and fighting every game. It just hurts to see it cut short,” Carleton Scott said.

Florida State is the nation’s top defensive team, and they completely shut down the Irish; which was especially impressive since they did it without their top defensive player, the ACC defensive player of the year Chris Singleton. The Seminoles only gave up a 37% FG average against for the whole season; the best in the NCAA in 10 years.

“It was — you were managing the crisis, you know, from the time Scott Martin went out. And, again, I give our kids a lot of credit because we don’t press much and we kind of put that in at one of the time-outs, and we did a really good job of that. We competed, and we made it interesting there a little bit, but it’s a big hole to come out of,” Coach Mike Brey said.

“And they made timely plays for us. Again, their seven threes in the first half, the jump shots they made, I thought we could get away with giving up a little bit of that. And then in the second half, you’re worried about them making jump shots, and they bang away on you in the post with those big guys, and then you’re in foul trouble, and you’re really caught.”

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Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com and Cleveland.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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