CHICAGO -- There are times when a lower-seeded NCAA Tournament team needs a little magic to win the kind of game Florida State did here on Sunday night. A shot that just beats the final buzzer. A ball that bounces one way instead of the other.
The Seminoles, seeded 10th in the Southwest region, needed no such magic. From start to finish during their 71-57 victory against No. 2 seed Notre Dame, Florida State was the superior team. And now the Seminoles are headed to San Antonio and to Florida State's first Sweet 16 since 1993.
The Seminoles, who will play 11th-seeded VCU on Friday, were supposed to be overmatched by one of the best shooting teams in the nation. They were supposed to wilt against the Fighting Irish and their five senior starters.
Instead, though, it was Notre Dame that appeared to be the more timid team on Sunday night. Florida State led by double digits throughout the second half and led at one point by 23 before Notre Dame went on an 11-0 run.
The Fighting Irish's burst was aided by a technical foul that came after Ben Hansbrough made a three-pointer from the top of the key. Florida State guard Michael Snaer, who thought he had been fouled on the play, jumped off the floor and yelled in the direction of an official, who called him for the technical.
Notre Dame used it to cut Florida State's lead to 12 but the Fighting Irish came no closer.
Bernard James led four Florida State scorers in double figures with 14 points. The Seminoles shot 44.7 percent and held Notre Dame to 31 percent shooting.
The Fighting Irish boasted a 46.6 percent field goal percentage coming into the game, but they were left with another disappointing showing in the NCAA Tournament. Hansbrough scored 18 on 5-of-13 shooting before fouling out with 3:19 left.