Carolina Hoops Heel Primer: UNC Takes On FSU


UNC Tar Heels #3 (14-2, 2-0 in the ACC) vs. FSU Seminoles (10-6, 1-1)

When: Saturday January 14th 2pm est on ESPN

Where: Tallahassee FL Tucker Center

Injury Report: Dexter Strickland and Desmond Hubert suffered ankle injuries on a day off from practice.  Though they are listed as questionable, expect Strickland to play and Hubert to be available.

Before you dive into today’s NFL Playoff action the Tar Heels take on the Seminoles in ACC conference play.  UNC hits the road for the first time in what seems like forever to take on a tough Florida State team.  UNC should be charged up for this one as FSU brought a lot of pressure on itself by making this statement in the school’s game notes.

"“LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO …… Defeat No. 3/3 North Carolina and gain a win over a ranked team for the first time this season. The Seminoles have played four ranked teams so far this season. … Defeat No. 3/3 North Carolina and gain a win over a ranked team for the 22nd consecutive season. The Seminoles have at least one win over a ranked team in each year since the 1988-89 season.”"

The rest of your Heel Primer after the break

The Heels face what could be their toughest match up since Texas. Florida State employs a aggressive, pressing, defensive attack that will look to slow down the Heels high powered offense.

"“Their defensive philosophy is to apply as much pressure as possible,” said UNC’s Harrison Barnes"

"“They have extremely good rotations,” Barnes said. “The help side is always in the right position. They hard hedge; on pick-and-rolls, they really get after you.“The guards always go over the top of the screens. The just put a lot of pressure on you defensively.”"

Florida State routinely gives the conference elites fits, especially UNC. Look at the history:
UNC needed Harrison Barnes to nail a game winning jumper in a close 72-70 win last season.
The 09 championship team that absolutely ripped through the NCAA tournament. Needed a running, near half court, buzzer beater by Ty Lawson to beat FSU.
In 08, it took OT before the Heels could swat this team away 84-73
2006 saw a win point win by the Heels 81-80

"“I think they give everybody the dickens,” UNC coach Roy Williams. They went to the Sweet 16 [of the NCAA tournament] last year. In ’09 when we won it, we beat them on a 30-footer. We lost to them in the [ACC] tournament."

Forget history, UNC by all accounts, should crush this team. This is a game, if the Heels were to slip, it would be easy to point to all those defensive lapses. Those ten minutes here, five minutes there naps the team takes when it becomes disinterested. Those missed opportunities to grow that could haunt the Tar Heels. FSU is tough at home, Florida State has won roughly 80 percent (59-15) of its home games over the last five seasons.  This one could get messy.

Keys to the game: FSU sports some tough guards, UNC needs to stay aggressive on defense, and get out and run as much as possible.  Setting the tone early and establishing dominance in the pace of the game is huge.  The Tar Heels haven’t played in an opposing arena in a long, long time, they need to silence the crowd early and get into a rhythm.  FSU likes to press, UNC likes to run, somethings got to give.  Carolina will only break the Seminoles if they control the boards with their bigs.  Perimeter defense will be huge, FSU likes to penetrate the basket and UNC needs its big men to maintain position in the paint and its perimeter players in position to take off in transition.  This game will be about patience and execution as much as talent and athleticism for Carolina.

Predictions: I expect UNC to get rattled early and face the real possibility of getting upset.  A close game at halftime will turn into a Tar Heel blowout in the second half.  Carolina will figure out the Seminoles pressure sooner or later, and when they do, it’s over for FSU.  Player of the game: Harrison Barnes, this will be the game Barnes really kills it I think.  Look for a second half explosion as he erupts for 32 points on 14-19 shooting.  Final Score: UNC 83-FSU 71

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