No. 23 Notre Dame enters the game as the 3-seed in the tournament. As the 6-seed, South Florida had to win to get to this round. They defeated Villanova, 56-47, on Wednesday.
Notre Dame was a surprise to finish third place in the league after losing Tim Abromaitis for the season to injury after he played two early games. Jack Cooley stepped up in his place and posted 10 double-doubles in Big East play. Cooley leads the Irish in rebounding with 9.2 per game. The Irish scoring lead is distributed between Cooley, Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins who all score 12.4-12.5 points per game.
South Florida was also a surprise team. Big East Coach of the Year Stan Heath's team got to where they are this season by playing tough physical defense. That was on display in their first game of the tournament when they held Villanova to just 34% shooting. The Bulls play at a deliberate pace and don't have a single player averaging double figures in points but have had great individual efforts in any given game all season long. Anthony Collins and Victor Rudd, Jr. led the way against Villanova with 17 and 13 points, respectively.
When the teams met in January, Notre Dame won, 60-49, in South Bend. The pace favored South Florida in that game but when they went cold from the field in the second half, the game got away from them.
Game time: 9 p.m.
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
The winner of the game will play the winner of Louisville-Marquette in the semifinals on Friday at 9 p.m.