North Carolina will step away from the Smith Center today for the first time in 42 days when it plays its ACC road opener. The Tar Heels will play Florida State at 2 p.m. in Tallahassee at the Tucker Center. North Carolina last played a road game on Dec. 3, when it lost 73-72 at Kentucky, and it will be playing only its third true road game of the season. After playing the past nine games at home, coach Roy Williams of North Carolina said he can't be sure how his players will respond to a hostile crowd and travel demands.
UNC expects tough test
The Winston-Salem Journal
If recent history is any indication, North Carolina's monthlong stretch of blowout wins may end today at Florida State (2 p.m., ESPN).
Though the Tar Heels have won each time, the past four games in Tallahassee have gone down to the wire — Harrison Barnes hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left a year ago, Ty Lawson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer in 2009, UNC won in overtime in '08 and by one point in '06.
This season, UNC (15-2, 2-0) has lost the past two games away from the Smith Center and hasn't played on the road in exactly six weeks. So it might finally be time for the third-ranked Tar Heels to be tested again.
Tar Heels expect tight defense from Seminoles
The Durham Herald-Sun
If North Carolina is going to win a championship this season, it will have to do it without sharpshooter Leslie McDonald.
UNC coach Roy Williams said the junior guard, who tore his ACL in a summer league game seven months ago, is expected to redshirt this season.
"Our plan right now is that he will not play this year," Williams said Friday.
Williams: McDonald likely to sit out season
The Durham Herald-Sun
Tallahassee, Fla., is a bit of a strange place. It is a college town and a government town, a capital city and a quiet city. It is the center of Florida politics, yet far closer to the state lines of Georgia and Alabama than it is to the glitz of South Beach and the theme parks of Orlando.
It's also a place where, in recent years, highly ranked college basketball teams have come to lose. Or at the least, have come to be tested maybe more than they would have expected.
Test day in Tallahassee
The Charlotte Observer
Homebodies no more, the North Carolina Tar Heels are embarking on their first game away from Chapel Hill in a protracted span of 42 days.
Count forward John Henson as one who has been ready to hit the road for this afternoon's matchup at Florida State.
In addition to re-acquainting himself with his travel backpack and looking forward to the team's 11 p.m. bedtime snacks, Henson is eager to gauge how North Carolina reacts in a hostile environment after being holed-up at home.
Pack our bags? Tar Heels head back on road
The Burlington Times-News
Luckily for Matt and his wife, Annette, they get to wear their Carolina Blue today as they travel to Tallahassee to watch John and the No. 3-ranked Tar Heels (15-2, 2-0 ACC) against Florida State (10-6, 1-1) at 2 p.m. in the Tucker Center.
Henson family puts North Carolina-Duke rivalry aside for basketball-playing brother and sister
The Tampa Bay Times
It's not like this is anything new for Leonard Hamilton.
He's been in the league long enough to have played against two separate North Carolina national championship teams. And he's been around college basketball long enough to know just how talented — year in and year out — the Tar Heels are.
So the fact that they come into today's nationally televised showdown with his Seminoles ranked No. 3 in the nation and one of the favorites to win the NCAA Tournament is hardly a shocking development.
Big-time challenge for 'Noles
The Tallahassee democrat
The statistics and rankings may favor No. 3 North Carolina, but there is one thing the Florida State Seminoles hope will overshadow them both Saturday afternoon: the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Home sweet home: Tucker Center kind to FSU
The Orlando Sentinel