Previewing Florida State

While the fans have already begun talking about the Wednesday showdown with Duke, the Tar Heels first must get past Florida State's three-guard attack on Sunday. Tip-off in Tallahassee is set for 2 p.m. and will be nationally televised by Fox Sports Net.

North Carolina (20-1, 5-1) vs. Florida State (13-9, 2-5)
Tallahassee, Fla. - Tucker Center
2 p.m., FSN


"They've got guards that are really athletic and can get to the basket and can shoot, so it's going to be a tough challenge for our perimeter. We're going to have to get out and guard." – UNC guard Wayne Ellington

"I know [Tucker Center] is a tough place to play. And they're a good team, so we'll have to be ready for them." – UNC forward Tyler Hansbrough


Season to Date: Florida State enters Sunday afternoon's contest with a 13-9 (2-5 ACC) record. There were early signs that the Seminoles might struggle this season, after losing to Cleveland State (69-66 OT) and South Florida (68-67) in November. But things appeared to be looking up for a short while as head coach Leonard Hamilton's squad responded with a 65-61 win at Florida, followed by a 75-61 home victory against Minnesota. But FSU has fallen on hard times in conference play, losing five of their last six contests.

Perimeter Preference: Junior Toney Douglas (14.3 points and 3.2 assists per game) leads a dangerous three-man guard rotation capable of creating their own shots for the Seminoles. Seniors Jason Rich (12.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Isaiah Swann (12.0 ppg, 2.9 apg) join Douglas in accounting for 52.7 percent of FSU's scoring, aided in part by a combined 38.5 percent shooting percentage (104-of-70) from 3-point territory.

Charity Stripe Skills: While Florida State ranks near the middle of the pack (or worse) in most conference statistics, there is one category where their success has been impressive on the national scale – free throw shooting. The Seminoles lead the country with a 79.0 shooting percentage from the charity stripe, and four starters (Douglas, Rich, Swann and forward Uche Echefu) are connecting on more than 81 percent of their free throw attempts.

Absent on the Glass: One statistical category that has not been kind to Florida State is rebounding. The Seminoles hold down the ACC's cellar spot in defensive rebounds (22.95), while ranking second-to-last in offensive rebounds (10.6). Echefu (11.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is the only player on Hamilton's roster averaging more than five rebounds per contest.

Last Meeting: Wayne Ellington scored 18 points to lead the way as North Carolina defeated Florida State, 73-58, in an ACC Tournament quarterfinal on Mar. 9, 2007, in Tampa, Fla. Ty Lawson (14 points and eight assists), Brandan Wright (11 points) and Reyshawn Terry (11 points and nine rebounds) joined Ellington in double-digit scoring for UNC. The Tar Heels held the Seminoles to 30.9 percent shooting from the floor while shooting 52.9 percent in the victory.

Series History: North Carolina leads the series with Florida State, 36-8, and the Tar Heels have won 17 of the last 20. UNC's last game on Super Bowl Sunday also came in Tallahassee – the Tar Heels won an 81-60 decision against FSU on Feb. 6, 2005. Later that day, the New England Patriots defeated Philadelphia, 24-21.

Projected Starters:
 3 Isaiah Swann (6-2, 198, Sr.) – 12.0 ppg, 12.9 apg
23 Toney Douglas (6-1, 200, Jr.) – 14.3 ppg, 2.7 spg
25 Jason Rich (6-3, 211, Sr.) - 12.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg
42 Ryan Reid (6-8, 237, So.) - 5.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg
41 Uche Echefu (6-9, 225, Jr.) – 11.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg

Key Reserves:
10 Ralph Mims (6-3, 205, Sr.) – 11.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg
21 Julian Vaughn (6-10, 239, Fr.) – 3.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg
 2 Jordan DeMercy (6-7, 204, Fr.) – 1.2 ppg

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