Once expected to play football for the Tar Heels, Noel has admittedly had difficulty lately dealing with the bold decision he made last year to walk on the basketball team.
"You don't know how many times I've thought about it," Noel said. "But I'm not the type of person that likes to second guess myself; I just went with basketball. It's my love."
However, he seemed to have put away any lingering doubt against the Seminoles.
"My shot is falling now," he said. "I've been in the gym shooting a lot, because that is a part of my game that I really need."
Noel connected on 2-of-3 field goals with a three-pointer, after entering the game shooting 6-of-18 and 0-for-5 from the three-point arc. Perhaps more importantly, he pulled down four rebounds and dished out two assists against just one turnover.
"I had real good practices, and my coaches were telling me that it's time for me to break out," Noel said. "Tonight was a night where I got some good looks and it was just a good game."
Now no one is expecting Noel to take over the spotlight from his more-publicized teammates. But ever since the Tar Heels were undressed by Kentucky and Illinois with regard to depth and rebounding, seeing Noel begin to make significant strides is a welcome bonus.
"When I get in, I have to bring it just like the starters on this team," he said.
Along with Noel, Byron Sanders had a mini-breakout game that bodes well for UNC's only glaring weakness – size inside. Sanders had eight points and three rebounds in eight minutes of action.