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Heel Tough Blog: Florida State Preview

After winning two straight to games to get themselves back in tournament contention, the Tar Heels dropped another inexcusable one at the hands of Boston College to fall back below .500 once again. Cole Anthony’s return to the lineup was a solid one, as he finished with 26 points, 20 of which came in the second half. He shot just 5-14 from the field, but that was part of an overall struggle from the field for the Tar Heels on Saturday night, where they shot just 36.1% after back-to-back games of 49.1% from the field or better. The Tar Heels will have to recover quickly, as they have a short turnaround against a Florida State that enters looking to stay in contention for a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The road trip to Tallahassee will be a stiff test for the Tar Heels. The Seminoles will likely drop in the polls after a mid-week defeat at the hands of Virginia, but this team is still likely to remain in the top ten thanks to what has been a phenomenal start to the season. The Seminoles enter Monday night’s game with a record of 18-3 on the season and sits in a tie for second in the ACC standings with Duke as they are 8-2 in the conference this season. As they usually are, Leonard Hamilton’s team is extremely balanced. No one on the team averaged 15.0 or more points per game, but four guys do average over 8.0 per game. The Seminoles strength is on the defensive end, though, where they allow just 64.4 points per game and hold opponents to just 40.6% shooting. The Tar Heels will have to take care of the basketball against a team that forces an average of 18.0 turnovers a game. This will be a tough matchup for the Tar Heels all around and they will have to play much better than they did on Monday if they want to pull the upset and help their slim tournament hopes. Here are the keys to a Tar Heel victory in the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center on Monday night.

1. Put the Ball Inside: After seeing a ton of success down low in the previous two games, the Tar Heels didn’t get nearly as many post touches as they should have on Saturday. Part of that may have to do with the fact that both Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot struggled to finish at the rim on Saturday, but when this offense has been at it’s best this season, it’s gone through the post. With Brandon Robinson out of the lineup for this game, the Tar Heels will need to get the ball inside to have any chance in this game.

2. Take Care of the Basketball: One of the biggest issues in the second half on Saturday were the untimely turnovers and as we talked about a little above, the Tar Heels will have avoid those late turnover issues if they want to put out the victory. The Seminoles 378 turnovers forced this season rank 16th in the country and if those turnovers issue resurface in this game again, it could be a long night. Smart passes and going up strong with the basketball are important to make this possible.

3. Make Your Free Throws: The difference in the game on Saturday came down to nine missed free throws, seven of which came from Brooks, who finished the night 0-7 from the charity stripe. The problem wasn’t getting to the line for the Tar Heels on Saturday night and one would think they’ll be able to get to the line once again with the focus being to get the ball inside and Anthony’s ability to drive the basket. Once they get there, though, they must be able to capitalize on the freebees.

Series History: The Tar Heels have dominated the overall series with a 50-13 record in 63 total matchup with the Seminoles in program history. Roy Williams holds a 21-6 record against the Seminoles in 27 meetings in his head coaching career and has won eight of the last nine. The last meeting between the two teams in Tallahassee was a 81-80 loss back in January of 2018.



97th overall

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 105.5 (118th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 98.0 (89th)

Florida State

18th overall

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 111.5 (31st)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 92.2 (23rd)

TV Info: The game against the Seminoles will tip off at 7:00 PM EST on ESPN.

Roy’s Boys Podcast:

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