No. 9 Florida State at No. 11 North Carolina
When: 2 p.m.
Where: Smith Center, Chapel Hill
Projected starting lineups
North Carolina (15-3, 3-1 ACC)
G Joel Berry 15.6 ppg, 4.6 apg
G Kenny Williams 7.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg
F Justin Jackson 17.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg
F Isaiah Hicks 12.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg
F Kennedy Meeks 12.9 ppg, 9.7 rpg
Florida State (16-1, 4-0)
G Xavier Rathan-Mayes 11.1 ppg, 4.6 apg
G Terance Mann 9.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg
G Dwayne Bacon 17.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg
F Jonathan Isaac 12.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg
C Michael Ojo 5.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Three things to know
▪ Both teams like to get up and down, so expect a high-scoring game.
According to kenpom.com, UNC and Florida State are the two fastest teams in the ACC. We're not talking 40-yard dash times here, but instead tempo and possessions. Put it another way: the Tar Heels and Seminoles play at a faster pace than anybody else in the conference. The preference for running – and, mainly, to score before the opposing defense has a chance to set itself – should make for an entertaining, high-scoring affair on Saturday. But it could also make it more difficult for UNC to avoid foul trouble, which is something it will need to do to give itself its best chance.
▪ This is second time in 61 games between UNC and FSU that Seminoles are higher-ranked team.
And it's the first since the 1992 ACC tournament semifinals, in which No. 20 UNC defeated No. 18 Florida State. This is essentially a top-10 match-up, though by virtue of UNC's No. 11 national ranking the 1972 Final Four remains the only time UNC and Florida State have met as top-10 teams. The Seminoles' rise this season hasn't happened accidentally. They might be Final Four good, and how they fare on Saturday at the Smith Center is another chance for them to earn some respect.
▪ UNC perimeter players won't fear possibility of getting their shots blocked.
Florida State ranks 16th nationally in the percentage of shots it blocks, according to kenpom.com. That's not necessarily a surprise given the Seminoles' height. So how does UNC combat that, and how do the Tar Heels' wing players resist the fear of driving in and having their layup attempt swatted into the first row? “When we drive, that's not what we think about,” UNC guard Kenny Williams said. “We know they're in there, but we don't really drive to not get our shot blocked. We drive to score.” How well the Tar Heels avoid confrontations at the rim could a long way toward determining the outcome.