The North Carolina Tar Heels will try and bounce back after two consecutive losses to open conference play against Florida State in Tallahassee. The last time UNC visited FSU they left with a 33-point loss, UNC’s most lopsided defeat in the Roy Williams era. UNC went 0-2 against the Seminoles last season.
Both teams come in struggling with FSU posting just an 8-5 nonconference performance and the Heels struggling to find an identity all season and dropping their first two ACC match ups. Defense is usually the staple of all Leonard Hamilton teams but his squad struggled on that end of the floor early this season after leading the nation in field goal percentage defense in 2010 and 2011. UNC has yet to learn how to defend the three point shot and if they could be in for another long day if they aren’t able to correct that against FSU, the Seminoles are shooting 38.2% from three which would rank them among the best shooting teams in program history if they are able to keep that mark this season.
UNC has only started 0-3 in conference play once in school history and will look to avoid that embarrassing mark with a win today. A win today could go a long way in restoring confidence back to a shaken team that has failed to meet expectations this season. A win over FSU on their home floor after losing in such humiliating fashion that Roy had to take his players off the court with 14 seconds remaining on the clock to avoid the melee of FSU fans rushing the court would be huge for this program.
UNC has struggled against teams that like to slow the tempo and that play tough defense, FSU fits that bill, despite their rough start to the season defensively they have picked it up lately and started ACC play 2-0. The biggest problem for the Tar Heels this season has been staying focused on the defensive end, they have been horrible at closing out on shooters and fighting through ball screens, something Virginia exploited over and over again in Thursdays loss.
Senior Michael Snaer leads the Seminoles but like James Michael McAdoo he has also turned the ball over a lot this season and needs to play with more control on the offensive end. Both teams are inexperienced and playing with five freshman and seven first-year players.
UNC freshman point guard Marcus Paige had the best passing game of his young career against Virginia and made several plays we are not used to seeing out of him, the Heels desperately need him to keep up that kind of play and find ways to get Reggie Bullock and McAdoo the teams top two scorers in position to put the ball in the basket early and often.