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FSU basketball: North Carolina preview

FSU travels to take on North Carolina

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC is stacked. They have six players who were more highly rated as recruits than any single person on FSU's roster. They have nine guys more highly rated than Montay Brandon, who is FSU's only other top 100 recruit aside from Xavier Rathan-Mayes. And if the ACC really is to become a super conference, then there will be a lot more uphill games like this one.

North Carolina (15-4, 5-1) is a game behind Virginia in the ACC. The have a top 20 offense and defense (17th and 19th respectively), and they've had the luxury of developing some of their talent. Only one of five guys who play more than half the minutes is a freshman.

Junior Marcus Paige leads UNC at 13.5 ppg. He rarely comes out of games and is relied upon to keep things running smoothly. Kennedy Meeks, their sophomore big man with great hands, is scoring 12.8 per game. Junior Brice Johnson is scoring 11.7, and 6-8 Justin Jackson is the lone freshman in double figures at 10.1 per game.

They have talent at every position. They're long. They're the No. 1 rebounding team in ACC play on both ends of the floor.

In other words, there's a very good likelihood that this will be a long, painful game for FSU.

However, there is a chink in UNC's armor, and it's due to injuries. 5* freshman Theo Pinson broke a bone in his foot and will miss Saturday's game. 5* freshman point guard Joel Berry is having groin issues and will miss the game. Sophomore point guard Nate Britt needed 15 stitches after the Wake game and is questionable.

That leaves UNC with just one point guard (Paige) and he's been through some nagging injuries this season.

Of course, the talent advantage is still completely one sided, but hey, there's a chance.

The Noles will need a brilliant game from it's back court of Xavier Rathan Mayes, Montay Brandon, and Devon Bookert. UNC is 10th in the nation in defensive eFG%, and those are the three guys who can go get buckets. Defensively, the front line is going to have their hands full. UNC doesn't take many 3s, and instead score everything in transition or in the paint. Only five teams in the nation score a higher percentage of their points on 2s. FSU's defense played well against Clemson, but this ain't Clemson. Pomeroy has UNC as 20-point favorites.

The game tips at 2pm and will be broadcast on ESPN.