ACC Beware

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – No. 2 North Carolina has dismissed its last seven opponents by an average margin of 32 points. The Tar Heels are now ready to unleash their wrath on the ACC, starting with Florida State, which visits the Smith Center on Sunday.

While fans may be thirsting for a little more of a competitive adventure from opponents, the UNC players would just as soon continue the status quo.

"We don't want to see close games," Reyshawn Terry said. "We want to blow everybody out by 30 or 40."

Carolina (13-1), the overwhelming favorite to claim its record 24th league title, has won six of its last seven ACC openers – the last loss a 119-114 triple overtime thriller to Wake Forest in Roy Williams' first year as Tar Heel head coach.

Williams said he's pleased with where his team is right now, but he's not satisfied.

"I would like to change some things like the Gonzaga game, but perhaps we learned some things there that have helped us in some ways," Williams said. "I've congratulated the kids for what they've accomplished in the pre-conference part of our schedule."

UNC appears as healthy as it has been in a while with Bobby Frasor and Quentin Thomas returning after lengthy stints on the shelf due to injury. The only known issue is Ty Lawson's bruised right wrist, which he tweaked again versus Penn on Wednesday.

"We have been able to stay relatively healthy – a few hiccups along the way – but we'll really need to stay healthy now," Williams said. "We're playing better defensively, and we've had a tremendous attitude in practice."

UNC leads the all-time series with FSU, 34-8. Its last loss occurred on Jan. 22, 2004 at Tallahassee, 90-81 in overtime, also in Williams first season back in Chapel Hill.

The Seminoles (12-3, 0-1 ACC) opened their 2005-06 conference slate last Wednesday with a 68-66 home loss to No. 23 Clemson.

FSU's lineup of three quick guards and an athletic wing in the post -- second team All-ACC power forward Al Thornton -- present that Williams described as one of the worst match-ups the Tar Heels will face all season.

"Uche [Echefu] and Thornton are basically perimeter players as four and five men," Wiliams said. "But I'm not going to play five perimeter players, because it's not the best match-up for them on the other end either."

Many believe some ACC teams were short-changed last season when it came time to pass out NCAA Tournament bids. No team felt more slighted than Florida State, which finished with a 9-7 conference record.

However this year, 10 of the leagues 12 teams have three or more starters returning, including six players who earned all-conference honors last season. With so much talent coming back to go with stellar freshmen classes, the ACC is expected to bounce back strong.

"It's exciting for the team finally getting into conference play," Terry said. "We still have Arizona to play (out of conference), but for the most part this is more exciting for us."

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