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North Carolina v Notre Dame

by Sharon Thorsland

It’s a quick turnaround for North Carolina, as they travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida State tonight following an impressive win over #6 Virginia on Saturday night. The Tar Heels played one of their best games of the season against the Cavaliers, in large part because Pete Nance actually played like he was expected to since arriving in Chapel Hill. The win improved UNC to 18-11 overall and 10-8 in ACC play, but they’ve still got work to do to make the NCAA Tournament. Florida State is having a down year, the Seminoles are just 9-20 overall and 7-11 in the conference but are coming off a huge upset win over #13 Miami on Saturday night. Tip-off is set for 7:00 tonight on WBT.

So what’s going on with the Seminoles? They’re on their way towards the first losing season since 2005 thanks to a rash of injuries that began in the off-season that left behind a very young and inexperienced roster. But the biggest problem has been their defense, or lack there-of. The ‘Noles rank 260th in the country allowing over 76 points per game, and in their past five match-ups have given up over 82 a contest. The Tar Heels got hot against Virginia behind Pete Nance’s 22 points and should have plenty of chances against the Seminoles, who allow teams to shoot 37% from three.

Sophomore Matthew Cleveland is the guy to watch for the Seminoles, he hit the buzzer beater against Miami and has been making big shots all season. He’s averaging over 14 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Jalen Warley and Darin Green Jr. start at the guard spots and combine for over 20 points per game. Caleb Mills is also putting up double figures every game. The biggest advantage UNC has will be inside, where Armando Bacot will matchup with FSU freshman Cam Corhen. That could get ugly quick for Corhen, as Bacot continues to be a double-double machine.

This game should be an easy UNC win. The Tar Heels routed FSU by 20 last season in Chapel Hill and have a more talented and experienced roster. But in spite of their struggles, the Seminoles have not cashed it in yet this season. They rallied from 25 down in the second half to beat Miami, and they’ve beaten UNC three straight times in Tallahassee. But this is another must-win for the Tar Heels if they want to keep their tournament hopes alive, and I think they’ll deliver. Go Tar Heels!

Can UNC keep Momentum Going at FSU?  was originally published on