Previewing Florida State

After nine straight home games, the Tar Heels head to Tallahassee for their first road game in over a month. ESPN's College GameDay will be on-hand for the season premiere of its pregame show, and the game itself will tip-off at the Tucker Center at 2 p.m. on ESPN.

North Carolina (15-2, 2-0) vs. Florida State (10-6, 1-1)
Tallahassee, Fla. -- Donald L. Tucker Center
2:00pm -- ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale)


"We don't expect any one particular player to carry us. That's not the kind of team we are. We're a team that has to execute on the offensive end and get everybody the best opportunity." -- FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton


Season to Date: Florida State enters Saturday's contest with a 10-6 (1-1 ACC) record. After a 5-0 start to the season, the Seminoles drew national headlines by losing to Harvard, 46-41. Head coach Leonard Hamilton's squad lost its next two games to Connecticut (78-76, OT) and Michigan State (65-49) before winning three straight. FSU has lost three of its last five games, including a triple-overtime home defeat to Princeton (75-73) and a 20-point blowout loss at Clemson. The Seminoles won their last time out at Virginia Tech, 63-59.

Miller Back with Offense: Florida State's struggles this season – as has been the case for a number of years in Tallahassee – come on the offensive side of the ball. Charlotte, N.C. native Ian Miller was expected to solve some of those scoring woes, but academics forced the sophomore guard to miss FSU's first 11 games. In the five games since his return, Miller leads the Seminoles with a 14.0 points per game average coming off the bench. He's also averaging 15.8 points over his last four games. The 6-foot-3, 186-pounder has pulled down 10 rebounds and has nine steals to his credit, but the reason he's still coming off the bench is likely his 10 turnovers against just three assists.

Downright Defensive… Again: If you follow the ACC long enough, you begin to understand that certain things don't change. Roy Williams's teams are going to run up and down the floor, Mike Krzyzewski's teams are going to shoot a ton of 3-pointers and Leonard Hamilton's teams are going to play hard-nosed defense. The Seminoles have led the ACC in field goal percentage defense for three consecutive seasons and are in position to extend that streak to four years. FSU leads the league in holding opponents to 36.0 percent shooting and ranks second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.8). The Seminoles also pace the league in both blocked shots (7.1) and steals (8.6).

Rebounding Serving as an Indicator: Florida State's plus-5.3 rebounding margin ranks fifth in the ACC, but a closer look, courtesy of the FSU SID staff, reveals that the Seminoles win-loss record corresponds with their play on the boards. In Florida State's 10 victories, it has averaged a plus-9.9 rebounding advantage. The Seminoles have not won the rebounding battle in any of their six losses and own a minus-2.6 margin in those games.

Inside, Outside: Despite roster changes over the past month – Miller's return and the loss of Terrance Shannon for the season due to shoulder surgery – junior guard Michael Snaer and senior forward Bernard James have been consistent options for Hamilton on both ends of the court. Snaer is second on the team in scoring (12.9) and is knocking down 35.6 percent of his 3-pointers to go along with 18 steals. James is third in scoring (10.2) on 57.1 percent shooting and leads the team with 39 blocks.

Offensive Woes: Florida State has posted a solid field goal percentage this season – 44.5 percent ranks seventh in the ACC – but has struggled to shoot from long range (30.2, 12th ACC). The bigger problem has been in sharing the ball effectively and turning the ball over. The Seminoles rank 12th in the league in assist-turnover ratio (0.6) and 10th in turnover margin (minus-2.0).

Random Fact of the Day: In Florida State's official game day magazine, Garnet & Gold, James was asked the following question: Would you rather have X-ray vision or bionic hearing? For those wondering, James chose X-ray vision.

Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated Florida State, 72-70, on Mar. 2, 2011, at the Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla. Harrison Barnes drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 0:03 remaining. John Henson led UNC with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Barnes added 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

Series History: UNC leads the overall series with FSU, 42-10. The Tar Heels have won 12 of the last 14 and 23 of the last 28 meetings.

Projected Starters:
3 Luke Loucks (6-5, 201, Sr.) - 7.2 ppg, 3.9 apg
4 Deividas Dulkys (6-5, 196, Sr.) - 6.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg
21 Michael Snaer (6-5, 202, Jr.) - 12.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg
5 Bernard James (6-10, 240, Sr.) - 10.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.4 bpg
1 Xavier Gibson (6-11, 248, Sr.) - 7.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg

Top Reserves:
30 Ian Miller (6-3, 186, So.) - 14.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
10 Okaro White (6-8, 204, So.) - 7.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg
12 Jeff Peterson (6-1, 195, Sr.) - 4.2 ppg, 2.3 apg
31 Terry Whisnant (6-3, 185, Fr.) - 3.5 ppg
50 Jon Kreft (7-0, 262, Sr.) - 3.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
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(Photos by US Presswire)

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