North Carolina at Florida State, 7:00 PM, ESPN
UNC heads to Tallahassee for the fourth time in six regular season games looking to extend the current winning streak to seven games before facing Duke on Thursday. The Heels will be playing for the second time in three days having won a tough game against Pitt on Saturday. Florida State is also in the same predicament. The Seminoles played in Winston-Salem on Saturday evening and beat the Demon Deacons 67-60.
The concern for UNC is the Tar Heels play at a much high tempo than most teams and the duo of Marcus Paige and James Michael McAdoo played heavy minutes vs Pitt. Paige in particular admitted to be tired late in the game versus the Panthers and not communicating that with Roy Williams. With that in mind, it would not be surprising to see Williams use a couple of his timeouts in the second half in close proximity to media breaks to get additional rest for his players. In the past, this sort of thing has worked very well not to mention Tar Heel players are generally well-conditioned.
The quick turnaround coming off the Pitt game could result in a slow start for the Tar Heels similar to what was seen when UNC played Notre Dame. The Heels did not get off to a good start offensively but ultimately recovered thanks to a strong defensive effort. In fact, UNC's offense continues to be largely dependent on Paige, McAdoo and either Brice Johnson and/or J.P. Tokoto. It is still prone to being inconsistent at times which has made the stellar defense this team has played the wind that has filled the sails during the recent winning streak.With FSU's rather putrid turnover rate on offense, there should be opportunity for the defense to shine again.
In this game, UNC's primary concern will be rebounding against the bigger Seminole post players and ensuring FSU doesn't have yet another big game from beyond the arc. Ian Miller was 5-7 from three against Wake Forest on Saturday and he is one of four Seminoles who can hit three pointers with some consistency. It should be noted that only one current Seminole scored in double figures against UNC last season. Devon Bookert had 10 points in UNC's 20-point win in Chapel Hill.
This game doesn't quite fit the bill of a trap game because it seems unlikely that UNC would necessarily be looking ahead. It does look like a game that UNC might simply lose for a variety of reason from fatigue to tough road game to the Seminoles play out of their minds. In short, a win would be nice but a loss wouldn't be a surprise either nor does it mean the season is suddenly awful again should it happen.
FSU 75 UNC 70