Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
With the regular season in it's final week, UNC looks to strengthen the NCAA Tournament resume.
North Carolina(20-8, 10-5 ACC) vs Florida St.(15-13, 7-8 ACC), 2:00 PM, CBS
Apparently watching Duke-Miami on Saturday has everyone thinking about UNC-Duke next weekend. However the Tar Heels have two more games before dancing with the Blue Devil by the pale moonlight. FSU comes to Chapel Hill in the first of three rematches to close out the regular season.The first is Florida State which UNC won it's first ACC game of the season against in what seems like an eternity ago.
FSU presents some size issues for UNC but looking back at the first game, that hardly seemed to matter. While UNC did start Desmond Hubert, the combination of Hubert, Brice Johnson and Joel James totaled 8 points and 3 rebounds in 27 minutes. In other words, they were non-factors for the most part. P.J. Hairston, on the other hand had a huge impact on the game scoring 23 points in 28 minutes. Despite getting very little rebounding help from the traditional centers on the roster, UNC outrebounded FSU 41-17 with 36 of those coming from Reggie Bullock, James Michael McAdoo, Marcus Paige, Dexter Strickland, P.J. Hairston and Jackson Simmons.The rebounding wasn't an issue even though UNC made use of the smaller lineup at the end of the game. Roy Williams was upset with the rebounding effort in the second half at Clemson. This game may show just how much that message was taken to heart.
The biggest concern in facing FSU is ensuring the Seminoles don't go 11-22 again from three. Since the Seminoles will be on the road, it would be a bit surprising if FSU shot lights out again but good perimeter shooting is never a shock when it happens to UNC. In fact this game should be all about UNC hitting shots and putting together a complete effort from start to finish. FSU struggles a bit on both ends of the floor and given how good UNC has been at taking the ball away, seeing a team ranked 272nd in TO% invites all sorts of possibilities.
Of the three games left on the schedule, this is the last one UNC needs to win in order to avoid a "bad loss." Make no mistake, losing to FSU at home would probably be a worse loss than the defeat at the hands of Texas. It is game UNC simply needs to take care of business in as they have over the past four contests. The season has been a work in progress and has reached a point where it feels like the Tar Heels have gotten some traction. Another win over FSU continue that momentum.
UNC 84 FSU 68