Florida State topples North Carolina 73-70 and will play for the ACC Championship

At 10:52 of the first half, Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton called a timeout.  His Seminoles were down 14-8.  The Tarheels were 4-13 shooting, but had grabbed offensive rebounds on 6 of those 9 misses.  UNC makes its living on the offensive glass, and despite their size, Florida State had struggled with opponents who crash the glass. 

At the end of the game, UNC was still struggling hitting shots , going 22-59 (37%).  That's FSU's M.O.  What was different, however was that the 'Noles only allowed the Heels to grab 16 offensive boards on their 37 misses. 

Pre-10:52 Timeout UNC missed 9 shots Grabbed 6 offensive rebounds (66%)
Post 10:51 Timeout UNC missed 28 shots Grabbed 10 offensive rebounds (36%)
Total UNC missed 37 shots Grabbed 16 offensive rebounds (43%)

The only thing keeping FSU from having the best defense in the nation was their defensive rebounding.  No team shoots well against the 'Noles, and FSU generates turnovers and does so without fouling to excess.  Today, we found the final piece, against the best offensive rebounding team in the ACC (and probably the country).  I don't know what Leonard said in that timeout.  Whatever it was, it worked.  FSU boxed out more than usual, and brought Tyler Hansborough to tears (though I guess maybe his contacts problem was the issue). 

On the offensive side, FSU was very selective with their 3-point shots, electing to take them only after working the ball around.  Derwin Kitchen had a great game, with 6 assists, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals, only 1 turnover, and 11 points on 4-6 shooting. 

Toney Douglas had 27 points and made some ridiculous shots.  Arguably more important, however, was the way he dictated the tempo of the game, which was played at a pace just slow enough to favor the 'Noles.  FSU had 14 turnovers, always a bugaboo for the 'Noles, but they rarely occurred in the backcourt, which was important because UNC couldn't get out and run.

In the preview, we noted that FSU must control the defensive glass, and not allow fast break points.  UNC finished with only 6 fast break points, significantly less than their season average of 22

 

Florida State will face Duke for the ACC Championship, at 1PM Eastern tomorrow.

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