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Singleton is a tenacious defender, though, and the possibility of him guarding Hansbrough is enough to make the game worth watching. His wingspan, which rivals a small plane, means the Irish have one more person they have to account for around the basket, too.

“The reason why we are where we are is we’ve rebounded the first miss very consistently this year. We didn’t for 40 minutes, but eventually we did,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “For Florida State, though, you’re going to have to do it for 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.”

Hamilton’s teams are never going to be pretty or offensive juggernauts. They start and finish with defense, and players who pride themselves on shooting or don’t like structure best find another place to play. Defensive fundamentals are stressed from the minute a player signs, and Hamilton and his staff work on them relentlessly.

Practices are often exercises in offensive frustration. No one wants to be seen as the weak link, shot-blocking specialist Bernard James said, so the Seminoles guard each other so tightly there are days it seems as if nobody scores.

“They’re explosive on defense, which not a lot of teams are,” Notre Dame’s Scott Martin said. “They all have a nose for the ball, whether it’s shot-blocking or stealing or anything like that. It’ll be fun for us to see a little bit different look than we’re used to.”

When Brey came back to watch the last part of Florida State’s victory over Texas A&M, he was immediately reminded of Syracuse. That wasn’t a good thing, considering the Orange beat the Irish 70-58 on Jan. 1 and forced them into 15 turnovers.

But his players thought the Seminoles were more like Connecticut, a team Notre Dame beat twice this year.

“It’s not like we’ve haven’t faced it before in the Big East, big guys who try to do their work over us,” Tyrone Nash said. “We’re used to it, and we’re ready for it.”