Previewing Florida State

For their final road matchup, the Tar Heels travel to Tallahassee, where FSU has yet to lose a conference game. Tip-off on Wednesday at the Tucker Center is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.

North Carolina (22-6, 12-2) vs. Florida State (20-8, 10-4)
Tallahassee, Fla. -- Donald L. Tucker Center
7:00 -- ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale)


"You don't replace a guy of his caliber this late in the season. From our standpoint, we're still a team that's somewhat in transition with Xavier [Gibson] trying to get acclimated, and Terrance [Shannon] coming back from injury, and Ian [Miller's] coming back from injury. Now, we still are a little too much of a team that's in transition to be going down the stretch, getting ready to go into the ACC tournament, but that's who we are. That's where we are, and we accept that. We just try to go on and do what we're supposed to be doing." – FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton on trying to replace Chris Singleton

"I think [Kendall] Marshall has done a tremendous job. But I think their whole entire team seems to be stepping up. They were moving in that direction prior to Marshall moving into the lineup. It seems it's all kind of coming together." – Hamilton on North Carolina

"I always do one thing – I always look down and see where we're playing the last road game. And the reason I do that is because that's always Senior Day. I always say that could be one of the most difficult games on the schedule, regardless of who that team is." – UNC head coach Roy Williams


Since the Last Time We Met… Florida State enters Wednesday night's contest with a 20-8 (10-4 ACC) record. Leonard Hamilton's squad has won four of its five games since losing in Chapel Hill on Feb. 6, beating Georgia Tech, Virginia, Wake Forest and Miami while losing to Maryland (78-62) in College Park on Feb. 23. The Seminoles are looking to win all eight ACC home games for the first time in school history.

ACC Tournament Seeding Up for Grabs: Florida State can earn the No. 2 seed in the ACC Tournament by winning out and having North Carolina or Duke lose both of their remaining games. The Seminoles can also drop as low as the No. 5 seed due to being on the wrong side of the tiebreakers with both Virginia Tech (9-5 ACC) and Clemson (8-6 ACC).

Singleton Sidelined: Junior forward Chris Singleton was leading the Seminoles in points (13.8), rebounds (7.1) and steals (2.1) when he suffered a fracture in his right foot midway through the first half of Florida State's victory over Virginia on Feb. 12. Hamilton has not provided a timetable for Singleton's return, but while most media members anticipate the junior missing the remainder of the season, Florida State's official site posted that he is "expected to play for the Seminoles during the postseason" on Tuesday.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink: Senior guard Derwin Kitchen is playing the best ball of his career as March arrives on the calendar. In ACC play, the 6-foot-4, 204-pounder is averaging 9.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.9 steals to go along with a 1.9:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Defense Remains the Theme: Even with the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year sidelined due to the injury, Florida State has continued to employ a suffocating style of defense. The Seminoles lead the country with a 36.1 field goal percentage defense mark. In conference play, that percentage increases to 37.8, which includes a 31.7 percentage beyond the arc (T-3rd). FSU leads the ACC in steals per game (8.8) and ranks fifth in blocks per game (4.5) in league play. North Carolina's 55.7 field goal percentage on Feb. 6 was the highest against the Seminoles this season and marked only the sixth time this year that an opponent had shot better than 40 percent from the floor.

Gradual Offensive Improvement: While the Seminoles will never be confused for an offensive juggernaut, Hamilton's squad has made significant strides in putting the ball in the basket. In league play, FSU ranks sixth in field goal percentage (43.2) and eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (34.0). Hurting the Seminoles is a 0.8 assist-to-turnover ratio, good for 11th in conference play.

James Stepping Up: Junior forward Bernard James has worked his way into the starting lineup with a mixture of defensive effort and offensive efficiency. The 6-foot-10, 240-pounder is averaging 9.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in league play. He's blocked 62 shots this season – good for fifth-best in school history – and has swatted 15 shots in his last 10 games. On the other end of the floor, the Savannah, Ga. native is connecting on .644 percent of his field goal attempts, which currently ranks as the third highest single season mark in school history.

Random Fact of the Day: A victory would give the Seminoles a win over each member of the Big 4 for the first time in a season in school history.

Stat of the Season? The following statistic is listed in the Seminoles' official game notes for Wednesday's contest – "Florida State is undefeated, 20-0, when it outscores its opponent."

Last Meeting: Kendall Marshall directed North Carolina to an 89-69 victory over Florida State on Feb. 6 in Chapel Hill. The freshman point guard's 16 assists set the UNC record for the most assists against an ACC opponent (954 all-time games). Harrison Barnes (17 points and 10 rebounds) and John Henson (16 and 10) both posted double-doubles and Tyler Zeller (16) and Dexter Strickland (15) also scored in double figures for the Tar Heels.

Series History: The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with Florida State, 41-10. UNC has won 11 of the last 13 and 22 of the last 27 meetings.

Projected Starters:
22 Derwin Kitchen (6-4, 204, Sr.) - 9.8 ppg, 3.7 apg
4 Deividas Dulkys (6-5, 195, Jr.) - 8.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg
21 Michael Snaer (6-5, 205, So.) - 8.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg
10 Okaro White (6-8, 195, Fr.) - 6.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg
5 Bernard James (6-10, 240, Jr.) - 8.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.2 bpg

Top Reserves:
1 Xavier Gibson (6-11, 230, Jr.) - 5.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg
30 Ian Miller (6-3, 190, Fr.) - 5.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg
15 Terrance Shannon (6-8, 220, So.) - 5.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
50 Jon Kreft (7-0, 260, Jr.) - 3.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg
3 Luke Loucks (6-5, 205, Jr.) - 3.1 ppg, 2.3 apg

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