The Tar Heels return to action tomorrow against Florida State, as they look to return to their winning ways in Chapel Hill. On Tuesday night, Carolina eeked out a 79-77 win at Clemson, in a game they desperately needed to win, to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. They're currently sitting at 17-7 overall, with a 9-4 mark in the ACC, with seven conference games left, a strong finish would all but secure themselves a spot in the field of 68.
Just a few weeks ago, it had appeared as if Florida State had turned the corner, and was rounding into form. Prior to their current 5 game losing streak, the Noles had ripped off 6 straight wins, including a home win over Duke. The main reason for the losing streak? Malik Osborne has been sidelined with an injury, that this team isn’t able to overcome. Caleb Mills leads the team in scoring at over 13 points per game. As you could expect a Leonard Hamilton team to have, their roster features three players that are 7-1 or taller, including freshman John Butler, who’s shooting 39% from behind the arc.
Yesterday, it became official that UNC would be without Dawson Garcia for the rest of the 2021-22 season. Garcia has been away from the program, as he’s back home in Minnesota, as his family is dealing with several health issues. The Tar Heels have grown adjusted to not playing with Garcia as of late, but his absence will continue to force Hubert Davis to employ a short rotation.
Tuesday wasn’t about how Carolina won the game, as long as they won, which is what they did. Now though, with only 7 ACC games left, Carolina needs to start playing consistently, as the level of competition isn’t as tough as once believed. The good news is that the team is back at home in the Smith Center, where they have posted a 12-1 record this season:
Finish at the Rim: Florida State doesn't have the length they normally do, and that's with having three 7-1 or taller players on their roster. With that in mind, Carolina will still need to finish at the rim, despite their size and physicality. This goes for both the guards and the frontcourt players, most notably Armando Bacot. The Noles are still going to affect shots at the rim, but the Heels still need to be aggressive attacking the basket and finish over the length and through the contact.
Turnovers: One of the best things the Seminoles do is steal the basketball, as they average over 9 steals per game on the season. UNC has had their fair share of turnover issues so far this season, most recently at Clemson on Tuesday, when they committed 7 turnovers in the first 13 minutes of the game. If Carolina turns it over like they have before, there’s no reason to believe that Florida State won’t be hanging around late in the game.
Take Back Home Court: The Tar Heels are 12-1 at home, but that lone loss was the last time were in Chapel Hill, as they fell to Duke 87-67, in an uninspiring defeat. This is the final home weekend game of the season, which likely means it’ll be the best crown the team will play in front of the rest of the way. With below-average scheduled to visit the Smith Center after tomorrow, they’ll need to make it difficult for teams to come into their building and win.
Series History: UNC is 51-16 all-time against Florida State, and is 41-15 since the Noles joined the ACC back in the early 1990s, although FSU has won 4 of the last 6 contests. Carolina has won six straight in Chapel Hill, as the last FSU win in the Dean Dome was back in 2010.
UNC - 45th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 113.5 (25th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 98.7 (96th)
FSU - 95th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 104.2 (137th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 96.5 (63rd)
UNC - 41st.
FSU - 96th.
TV Info: Tomorrow’s game will start at 2 PM, on ESPN.
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