After opening conference season with a road trip to the most talented team in the nation, the No. 24 Seminoles (11-2, 0-1) now return home to host the defending national champs. That’s life in the ACC.
If you’ve watched the Tar Heels (12-2, 1-0) play this year then you’ve heard the announcers talking endlessly about how much UNC lost off of last year’s title team. But this is still North Carolina. They’re loaded with five top-60 recruits and two other 4*s. They’re also experienced, with four upperclassmen in the starting five.
However, it’s 3* Luke Maye who is averaging a double-double with 18.4 points and 10.9 rebounds a game. The 6-8 Maye does most of his work in the paint. But he can step out and knock down 3s at a 45% clip.
Senior Joel Berry turned down the chance to begin his professional career for one more season running the Heels offense. He’s played as expected, scoring 17.2 a game. With less talent around him, his 2-pt% has dipped to 42%, but otherwise he’s been a steadying force.
Junior Kenny Williams is scoring 12.4 a game. Almost half his shots are 3s, and he’s making 48%.
Pitt transfer Cameron Johnson just became eligible after the fall semester. In three games he’s averaging 11.7 points and has made 46% of his 3s. At 6-8 he gives them more size on the defensive end, but offensively, he’s mostly a 3-pt specialist.
All told, their offense is 26th nationally, which is their lowest in four years. As usual, they are a great offensive rebounding team. And though they don’t take a ton of 3s, they make 39% as a team.
Defensively, they’re a stout 10th. They don’t pressure a ton, but they make up for it by being one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the country, and they defend without fouling.
This will be an up and down game, and both teams will be looking for quick hitters. FSU has made 40% or more of their 3s in four of the past six games, and will likely need another night of solid shooting. North Carolina has won seven straight meetings between the teams.
The game tips at 7 PM from the Tuck and will be broadcast on ESPN2. FSU opened as a 1-point underdog, but are now favored by one.