Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Perhaps this time the Tar Heels will hang around for the whole game because they winning it.
With a quick turnaround and trip to Tallahassee, UNC won't have much time to contemplate Thursday night's late game debacle versus Miami. The road doesn't get any easier with a team that has been a tough game for UNC of late. It also marks UNC's first return to Tallahassee since the infamous 33-point beatdown at the hands of the Seminoles last season. That game ended with Roy Williams pulling his team back to the locker room(save the walk-ons on the court) because a court rushing about to occur. Since FSU is the defending ACC champion and both teams are unranked there is little chance of a court rushing again. There will be zero chance of one if UNC can find a way to win this game.
In true FSU fashion the Seminoles had all sorts of problems during their non-conference schedule. FSU lost to South Alabama, Mercer and Auburn all ranked 150th or worse in KenPom. The Noles also have five wins over teams in the top 100 including a 2-0 start in ACC against Clemson and Maryland. Both those wins came on the road and just when everyone thought FSU was in bad shape, they seemingly turn the ship around.
Can UNC's pull a similar feat on the road? It certainly would go a long way towards stemming the bad tide current moving in on the program. Not to mention an 0-3 in ACC play with the schedule UNC has is a difficult hole to climb out of to say the least. On paper, FSU is actually worse than UNC with offensive and defensive efficiencies in the 70s. Of course UNC is only slightly better which makes this an even match-up of sorts with FSU enjoying home court and sporting three point shooters who can do what three pointer shooters do versus UNC. Devon Bookert is 14-28 from three with Michael Snaer, Okaro White and Terry Whisnant are all 40% or better from three. Ian Miller rounds out the three point shooting contingent at 35%. UNC's perimeter defensive issues are well known so it will surprise no one when FSU takes multiple threes.
On the bright side this is not a great FSU rebounding team nor do they play defense at the same level past Leonard Hamilton teams. That opens the door for UNC to have a better offensive performance providing they figure out how to shoot the ball on the road. Reggie Bullock is coming off a bad game and will be looking to return to form. The same will be true for James Michael McAdoo who is still looking to play a game like an NBA lottery talent. UNC has issues. There is no magic bullet to solve them and every game at this point is extremely important. All this team can do is try and win the game in front of them then hope that is the start of a better track on the season.
A year ago, FSU rolled UNC in a game that almost destroyed a highly promising season. It would be ironic if UNC could come out of Tallahassee with a win as a first step to save the season at hand.
UNC 78 FSU 76