North Carolina may be playing as well as any team in the ACC. They opened the tourney by blasting Notre Dame by 42, and then they wore down 3-seed Virginia Tech in the next round. Now it’s the semi finals, and the winner will face Georgia Tech tomorrow for the title after a UVA player tested positive, effectively cancelling the other semi.
The ‘Noles and Tar Heels split their regular season matchups this year. In January FSU made 26-27 FTs on their way to a 7-point win. Then two weeks ago the Tar Heels dominated the glass and blew out FSU in the 2nd half.
Dominating the offensive boards is nothing new for UNC. They’re the No. 1 team in the nation on that end, and have grabbed half their own misses through two games at the ACCT.
FSU held them below their season average in game 1, and clearly will need to rebound well to take this one.
The Tar Heels are led by their quartet of big men. Armando Bacot (12.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg), Garrison Brooks (10.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg), Day’Ron Sharpe (9.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg), and Walker Kessler (4.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg) are all capable of taking over games. Bacot is particularly dangerous, averaging 18.5 points and 13 boards in the tourney.
As a team they don’t shoot the 3-ball well, though freshman Kerwin Walton has emerged late in the season as a serious threat, knocking down 41% from beyond the arc. Fellow freshman RJ Davis is the only other real shooter, and he makes just 33%.
The team is run by freshman Caleb Love, and his up and down season has been repeated in Greensboro, with 15 points and 6 assists in game one, followed by just 7 points and no assists in game two.
This will be UNC’s 3rd game in three days, and the tired legs narrative will be a key point for the talking heads. But Roy Williams has a deep team, and only one player (Leaky Black) has played more than 26 minutes in either game. Still, FSU will want to push tempo and hope that UNC’s advantage down low can be partially negated.
The last time FSU played an ACCT game RaiQuan Gray was a freshman and MJ Walker was a sophomore, so there isn’t a ton of experience to lean on here. Key for the ‘Noles will be valuing possessions, as they’ve turned it over on nearly 24% of their possessions against the Tar Heels this year.
The game is set to tip at 9 PM (but could change with the early game being cancelled) and will be broadcast on ESPN. The ‘Noles are 2.5 point favorites.