Below is a look at the key numbers for Sunday evening's matchup between the Irish and the Seminoles.
Meet the SeminolesIf defense wins championships, Florida State is the team to beat among the remaining United Center participants and the now-whittled Field of 32. The Seminoles rank No. 1 in the nation in defensive efficiency and No. 1 nationally in field goal percentage defense, limiting foes to 36.4 percent overall.
Luckily for Irish players, coaches, and fans, there's another side of the floor, and the Seminoles struggle mightily from it.
Head coach Leonard Hamilton's squad finished 149th in offensive efficiency over the course of the season and were undermined by a 32.9 percent shooting effort on 596 shots from beyond the arc.
Conversely, Notre Dame boasts the nation's No. 3 most efficient offense, due largely to a 39.2 percent effort from long range (15th nationally and No. 4 among remaining tournament competitors) as well as the 4th best assist-to-turnover ratio among 346 Division I teams (trailing only Wisconsin and Ohio State among remaining title hopefuls).
#2 seed Notre Dame vs. #10 seed Florida State
Notre Dame (27-6/15-5/#2 seed) – Winners in 13 of their last 15 contests, the Irish are now 5-2 in neutral site games (5-4 on the road) after Friday afternoon's win over #15 seed Akron. The Irish have lost just two games (at West Virginia and Louisville in the Big East semi-finals) since January 16.
Florida State (22-10/11-6/#10 seed) – The Seminoles finished third in the ACC, three games behind regular season champion and No. 2 NCAA seed North Carolina. FSU lost three of its last five entering the NCAA Tournament – each of the contests played without star forward Chris Singleton who suffered a broken foot in a win over Virginia in mid-February. Singleton returned to the fold in Friday's win over Texas A&M, logging 16 minutes off the bench.
Tip-off: approximately 9:40 EST
Series history: This will be the first matchup between the Irish and the Seminoles.
Recent second-round results: Notre Dame has advanced to the Round of 32 on four occasions in the Mike Brey era, losing to No. 3 seed Mississippi in 2001; No. 1 seed Duke in 2002 and No. 4 seed Washington State in 2008. The Irish defeated No.4 seed Illinois to advance to the Sweet 16 in 2003.
Florida State has not advanced to the second round since 1998 when they were upset by No. 14 seed Valparaiso, 83-77. 2011 marks the third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for the FSU program with two first round exits in 2009 and 2010 prior to Friday's win over Texas A&M.
Friday's Results: Notre Dame handled Akron, 69-56, while Florida State knocked out #7 seed Texas A&M, 57-50. The Irish were led by the rebounding and defensive effort of senior forward Carleton Scott (14 boards/4 blocks) and placed three players in double figures with Ben Hansbrough scoring a game-high 15 points as Tim Abromaitis netted 14 (3-3 from long range) and Scott Martin, 13, in the victory.
The Seminoles defeated the Aggies on the strength of a dominant defense, augmented by 10 blocked shots over the course of the contest. FSU received 15 points from guard Derwin Kitchen with 10 points and six boards from forward Bernard James. Florida State held the Aggies without a point over the game's first seven minutes.
Like opponents: None
Notre Dame: The Irish defeated Georgia, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Connecticut, St. John's, Marquette, at Pittsburgh, Louisville, Villanova, at Connecticut, and two vs. Cincinnati including a Big East quarterfinal win last week. Notre Dame's only close loss was an 83-77 overtime defeat vs. Louisville in the conference semi-finals.
Florida State: FSU won home tilts vs. Clemson, Baylor, Duke, and Boston College and defeated Texas A&M (Friday) in the Round of 64.
Quote to Note: "FSU can guard, guys. They can flat-out guard. I know Notre Dame can shoot it at all five positions, but … it should be a heck of a game." – Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon after his Aggies were bounced from the tourney by the defensively dominant Seminoles Friday afternoon.
Point Spread: Notre Dame -5
Winner will face: The survivor of the #3/#11 matchup between Purdue and Virginia Commonwealth. Tip-off is set for 7:10 EST from the United Center on Sunday evening.