Rested Heels seek revenge

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – So far this season, North Carolina has done a stellar job in avenging earlier ACC losses. If the current form holds through Saturday's match-up with Florida State, then the up-and-down Tar Heels (15-7, 5-6 ACC) would have their first back-to-back win in nearly a month. The Seminoles (18-8, 6-6), meanwhile, are after their first regular-season series sweep since the '91-'92 season.

  • Previewing Florida State
  • Roy Williams' Friday Press Conference

    Who can forget the Jan. 22 meeting in Tallahassee, where FSU defeated UNC, 90-81 in overtime; after Carolina held a 42-18 lead late in the first half?

    "Their defensive intensity really got the crowd into it and they started making some shots," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "Then they started making more shots."

    FSU senior Tim Pickett, who scored 30 points in that game, enters this one ranked first in the ACC in three-point field goals made (80), three-point field goals per game (3.08), second in three-point field goal percentage (.419), second in total steals (62), seventh in scoring (15.6 points per game) and 10th in field goal percentage (.435).

    "The ability that [Pickett] has to make very difficult shots gets everybody fired up, because he'll have guys right in his face and it doesn't seem to phase him," Williams said. "He lifts his teammates and that lifts the crowd."

    But he won't have the crowd behind him this time, as the Tar Heels have lost just twice this year in the friendly confines of the Smith Center.

    UNC, ranked 16th in the country, is coming off a somewhat unusual five days of rest. In 2000-2001, Matt Doherty's first season at the helm, No. 1 Carolina was riding an 18-game winning streak before having eight days off before a trip to Clemson. However, the Tar Heels were upset by the Tigers, the point where many believe their two-year skid over Doherty's final seasons began.

    "Our schedule has been so haphazard that we haven't had a chance to get into a routine," Williams said. "We had three games in six days and then turn around and only play two games in twelve days. It's been hectic for us and we haven't been able to get into a routine at all.

    "Yet, if you're going to have some gaps in your schedule, you might as well say it's going to be positive, because you're not going to be able to change it. Mentally, we hope [the rest] was good for them.

    Williams will have is eye on junior Jawad Williams to see if his 23-point, eight rebound resurgence in the win over Maryland on Sunday is a sign of things to come. If Williams can become the post presence he was early in the season, then he could be the missing link the Tar Heels need to play more consistently and up to their potential.

    "I hope it's something that he can build on, because he had a stretch there of six or seven games in which he wasn't very effective at all," Roy Williams said. "He was really tentative, and we can't be a really good team with him like that. Those first five or six guys have got to play really well, or our depth becomes more of a problem."

    The sixth man off the bench is more often than not Jackie Manuel, whose team-leading 56.9 field goal percentage is on pace to rank him in the top 15 in Carolina history. Manuel's 18 turnovers are the fewest on the team.

    Still, Williams would like to utilize more players, such as Jesse Holley, who had two assists and a blocked shot in about two minutes against the Terps.

    "I think you can go with six or seven guys, but you're always worried about foul trouble," Williams said. "That's why we brought Jesse in late in the first half versus Maryland, because Raymond had two fouls, Sean had two and Jackie had two. I thought he might be able to give us a spark and he did. It was something that was good for us because we scored like five points in the last 30 seconds and 10 points in the last minute and a half; so that gave us a working margin."

  • The UNC basketball program will hold a reunion for all lettermen on Saturday. Approximately 220 former players and managers are slated to attend and will be honored at halftime.

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