What a Saturday!
First, Florida State overcame a 31-54 first half deficit to beat Miami at the buzzer 85-84. It’s been a rough season in Tallahassee, as Leonard Hamilton’s team sits at 9-20 (7-11 in ACC play), well below FSU’s standard as a “new blood.”
The win over the Hurricanes stopped a four-game losing streak — a streak that could’ve reached eight straight if not for a 3-point win over last place Louisville — but is it too little, too late to change the course of Florida State’s season? UNC, desperately needing to win out the rest of the regular season, will hope so. Here are three things to watch as Carolina travels to Tallahassee to take on the Seminoles.
The win that Florida State cobbled together will leave a lasting memory in program history. It was a tremendous comeback, especially when Miami hit an expected game winner seconds earlier:
These types of moments can be as emotionally draining as they are lifting. Do the Seminoles rally around this moment and finish the season on a high note? Or did they use up all of their juice and play flat on Monday against a spirited UNC team? Let’s hope for the latter.
Carolina and Florida State turn the ball over at a similar rate (UNC at 10.9 per game, FSU at 12 per game). During their disastrous first half, FSU turned the ball over 10 times. While mounting their epic second-half comeback, they only coughed it up once.
Can the Seminoles show that type of control for an entire game against UNC? If they can, it will force the Tar Heels to generate offense from the half-court. That’s been a bit of Russian roulette for UNC this season. If Caleb Love and RJ Davis can handle cleanly, and Armando Bacot can avoid fumbling entry passes or misplacing passes out of double-teams, Carolina should be able to withstand Florida State’s defense, which is currently ranked last in the ACC, worse than Louisville.
Leonard Hamilton could go shot for shot in a bench-depth shots contest with Roy Williams. Hubert Davis would be under the table before midnight.
Florida State had 11 players in the game against Miami. Seven of them scored (five in double-digits) but maybe more importantly, six of them spread 12 fouls amongst the team. This could prove problematic if Armando Bacot fails to get clean looks at the rim.
If Carolina can’t build a first-half lead and allow HD to sprinkle some subs into the game to spell Bacot, FSU has the bodies to play very physically with him and wear him out for the last ten minutes. Puff Johnson with 24 minutes was the only sub that played substantial time (Washington, Trimble, and Dunn all had one 3-minute cameo in the first half). Bacot can get in foul trouble himself, so his minutes (and how intense they are) will be something to monitor.