Rushed Reactions: #3 Notre Dame 77 #2 Florida State 73Posted by Matthew Auerbach on March 10th, 2017
Three Key Takeaways.
- Notre Dame was the harder playing, smarter, better team. The Irish were the beneficiaries of its characteristically hot shooting from beyond the arc (13 made threes), but they also impressively took the fight to the bigger, stronger and more athletic Seminoles. Led by fearless floor leader Matt Farrell, Notre Dame was the aggressor in racing out to a 16-point halftime lead, leaving Florida State struggling to match the intensity of the Irish. A flurry of hot shooting from little-utilized Braian Angola-Rodas (17 points, 4-of-7 from three) was all that kept the game moderately competitive, but Florida State never applied any legitimate pressure to Notre Dame.
- This is why it’s impossible to trust Florida State. Just 24 hours ago, I sat in the same seat convinced that this version of the Seminoles was somehow different and perhaps worthy of discussion as a potential Final Four participant. Now I’m not so sure… or maybe I’ve just flat out changed my mind. It was not so much the loss but rather the uninspired, listless nature of the Florida State performance that makes trusting it so disconcerting. An illustration of the Seminoles’ substandard effort came early in the second half. After watching Notre Dame drill eight, mostly uncontested triples in the first 20 minutes, there is very little doubt that Leonard Hamilton addressed this point in the locker room. Just 1:15 after the half, though, Farrell found himself with a wide-open look from the corner as a lazy, last-second closeout effort by Dwayne Bacon once again proved late and futile.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover. Farrell and Bonzie Colson look like a pair of guys likely to be picked last in some of the more competitive pickup games in Brooklyn. But tonight, in a circumstance that becoming far from unusual, they were the two best players on the floor. The senior point guard (15 points, six assists) controlled the game from the tip, employing his grit and intellect that sometimes tends to unfairly overshadow his ability. The behemoth front line size of Florida State was somehow no match for the undersized Colson (18 points, six rebounds), who at 6’5” continues to amaze with his nose for the ball and penchant for scoring over taller opponents.
Star of the Game: Steve Vasturia, Notre Dame. While the aforementioned dominated the tilt, Vasturia matched Colson’s 18 points in hitting some big shots to stem the tide and grabbed g a critical offensive rebound in the final minute.
- “I think it’s been a methodical progression. It’s kind of the kind of guys we get. The guys that get better over four years.”-Mike Brey on Bonzie Colson’s improvement.
- “It shows up in poise. It shows up in outstanding leadership. It shows up in great stability in times of taking great punches in a league like ours, which we did. I have always had great senior leaders because I have always had great seniors. It’s the rhythm of our program, and I’m really proud of this new wave of old guys that are leading the team.” Brey on experience being his team’s calling card.
- “I think we’ve been pretty good at bouncing back all year. We’ll evaluate it, dissect it, debrief ourselves….We’ve won 25 games, so we realize we’re a pretty good basketball team. What we have to do now, is move on to the next level. Every time you falter, there’s a possibility you can grow and learn from it and hopefully that’s what we’ll do this time. We usually bounce back pretty good.” Leonard Hamilton on moving forward into the NCAA Tournament
Sights and Sounds: To be fair, the atmosphere of a Duke/North Carolina game isn’t a reasonable bar to be measured against, but the building had a feeling of apathy and exhaustion for much of the nightcap. The crowd was split relatively evenly, but as far as a Florida State supporter was concerned, it was tough to find a juncture in the game where you could really get behind what your team was doing.
What’s Next? Notre Dame will look to capture its second ACC Tournament title in three seasons on Saturday night against Duke. Florida State, on the other hand, has some soul searching to do. The Seminoles looked like world-beaters one day ago. A repeat of tonight’s effort, however, would lead to a disappointingly quick exit from the NCAA Tournament.