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Irish Insights


Irish have to be patient ... other notes

Florida State makes teams settle for three-point shots.

Opponents are averaging 22 three-point attempts per game against the Seminoles (22-10), who play Notre Dame (27-6) in the third-round of the NCAA tournament at 9:40 p.m. Sunday in Chicago.

Irish guard Eric Atkins has a simpler reason for why teams hoist up so many shots from behind the arc against the Seminoles.

"I think most people do that because when you come in there they just block your shot," Atkins said. "They are so athletic. Hopefully, we can get in there and kick it out to our shooters. They really clamp down when the ball is driven to the middle."

Florida State is tied for fifth in the nation with 5.9 blocked shots per game, and the Seminoles are just as good defensively near the basket as they are away from the basket.

Florida State is only allowing teams to connect on 30.4 percent of their three-pointers, and the Seminoles lead the nation in defensive shooting percentage, limiting foes to 36.2 percent shooting.

Though Notre Dame connects on 46.6 percent of its shots, the 36th best percentage in the nation, and 39.2 percent of its three-pointers, the Irish are going to have to be ready to move past some missed shots and even blocked shots Sunday.

"Our guys have always shot it with a free mind, and I want them to do that," Irish coach Mike Brey said. "Even though (Florida State has) got a lot of long guys back there, if they block one or two, you got to keep taking it in there and make them make plays.

Hitting the boards

Notre Dame forward Tyrone Nash said after the first half of Friday's 69-56 victory over Akron it felt like the Irish were losing despite having a four-point lead.

Nash said that because Akron held a 21-19 rebounding edge.

But the Irish were able to turn that around in the second half, outrebounding the Zips 22-11.

Notre Dame will have to rebound like it did in the last 20 minutes Friday when it plays Florida State on Sunday if the Irish hope to move on to the Southwest Regional in San Antonio.

The Seminoles outrebound their opponents by 4.6 per game.

"I think for Florida State, though, you're going to have to do it closer to 40 minutes to beat them because they just get so much on missed shots, and they have so many guys that can chase it down," Brey said about rebounding. "I think we're able to maybe jam the lane a little bit more because there's not as many shooters to spread you out. So our bigger bodies are a little closer to the basket to rebound than, say, (Friday) where you were so worried about hugging (Akron's Brett) McClanahan and guys getting going from the three-point line."

Cram sessions

There is no easy way to prepare for Notre Dame, even when you have time.

Florida State is trying to prepare of an offense that features five starters scoring between 9.7 and 18.4 points in about 48 hours.

On Saturday, Florida State guard Derwin Kitchen talked about what the Seminoles are trying to focus on defensively.

"They shoot the ball very well, and they're very smart," Kitchen said. "That's the main thing, that jump shot screen. They've got five guys on it. Sometimes they have five guys out there at one time that can shoot the ball from deep or from anywhere.

"Then they got -- their center (Nash) brings the ball up the court, which is very unusual for a college basketball team."

Preparing for Hansbrough

Notre Dame guard Ben Hansbrough has grabbed plenty of attention this season.

The 6-foot-3 senior was named Big East player of the year, and thanks to his 18.4 points and 4.3 assists per game he is high on every teams' scouting report.

But Florida State forward Chris Singleton, who returned from a broken foot in Friday's win over Texas A&M, said he was aware of how good Hansbrough was before this season.

"He's a good player," Singleton said. "It's been a long road for him coming from Mississippi State. I always liked his game. I liked it when he played at Mississippi State. He's got a toughness like his brother (Tyler)."

Singleton, who was named the ACC defensive player of the year, said he would be ready to guard Hansbrough if called upon.

"If coach puts me on the perimeter, I will have a chance to guard him," Singleton said. "I will guard him. I'm not going to run away from him."