10-Year Nole Anniversary: FSU Blasts No. 2 Seed Notre Dame for First Sweet 16 Appearance in 18 Years

Photo provided by Florida State athletics

With Notre Dame moving to the ACC for all sports except football, Florida State and the Fighting Irish meet on the hardwood every year.

The first meeting however, came in the NCAA Tournament. On this day 10 years ago, FSU stunned the Fighting Irish 71-57 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Chicago for its first Sweet 16 appearance since 1993.

Setting the Stage

FSU was coming off its first NCAA Tournament win in 13 years when it made its way to the United Center on March 20, 2011. Just a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament, FSU was facing what felt like a road game.

Notre Dame was the No. 2 seed in the Southwest Region. Ranked as high as No. 5 in the polls during the season, the Fighting Irish arrived with a record of 27-6.


Although Notre Dame was a healthy favorite and in front of a friendly crowd, there was very little time where the contest was in doubt for Florida State. FSU started strong, making eight of its first 13 shots to take a 23-11 lead. Defensively, the Seminoles did not budge as they took a 34-23 lead into halfitme.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first. FSU opened the second half on an 18-6 run to take a 52-29 lead. Notre Dame would get as close as 12, but never really threatened the rest of the way.

FSU shot 46% from the field in the victory and a stellar 9-for-19 from deep. Notre Dame, on the other hand, shot less than 31%. The Fighting Irish also struggled from deep, going 7-for-30 and at the foul line, shooting 12 of 19.

Bernard James led the way for FSU with 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Michael Snaer tallied 13 points for the Seminoles while Okaro White and Derwin Kitchen each chipped in with 10.

Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis led all scorers with 21 points. Ben Hansbrough added 18 points in the loss. All other members of the Fighting Irish combined to shoot 6-for-31 from the field.

In Hindsight

While Notre Dame’s luck had run out, Florida State’s would soon, also. The Seminoles fell to Virginia Commonwealth in overtime in the Sweet 16 in heartbreaking fashion, 72-71.

Still, the appearance in the Sweet 16 was the first in 18 years and first under head coach Leonard Hamilton. That trip was clinched on this day a decade ago.



Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.