FSU Basketball looks to avenge prior loss against No. 3 UNC

Florida State Seminoles Basketball plays host to the third-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels looking to avenge their early season loss.

Florida State v North Carolina
Florida State v North Carolina / Lance King/GettyImages

Rolling back the clock and flipping the calendar, we transport ourselves to the first time these teams tipped off on the same court.

On December 2, 2023, with what feels like a lifetime ago for FSU basketball fans, the Seminoles held a double digit advantage against the best team in the ACC, and now third ranked program in the country.

The North Carolina Tar Heels went on a 22-1 run to not only tie the game, but build a double digit lead with four minutes remaining to play. FSU responded with a three minute period of play where they would score nine and only allow a single point.

This made the game more interesting and hotly contested toward the end, but the Tar Heels kept the scoreline separated enough to emerge as the victors at the final whistle. FSU shot the three ball particularly well in the effort, making 12 baskets from 28 shots for a 42 percent mark.

However, they struggled in other areas on the court to finish with a field goal percentage of 40.3, meaning they made those 12 three-pointers and 15 other shots inside of the arc with 67 shot attempts. The Seminoles also struggled getting to the free throw line, going four of eight.

In contrast, the Tar Heels went 25 of 31 from the charity stripe. That discrepancy sealed the game for North Carolina. To their credit, they also outrebounded the Seminoles 39-30, and would only have one more turnover than their opponent. UNC only committed 13 fouls.

Losing a close one to Georgia and falling to North Carolina meant the Seminoles were in the midst of a losing streak, dropping the next two in a row and three of the next five. They are currently in a more positive period, winning six of their last seven games.

FSU basketball will need to again rely on Jahmir Watkins (2), who led the team with 17 points in the last match-up, and currently leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists per game.

Another key player for FSU will be Primo Spears (23), who was unavailable for the last time these two teams tipped off. Spears is the third leading scorer for the Seminoles, averaging 11.5 points a game, and has the best free throw percentage on the team at 78.7.

Florida State will have to contend with Armando Bacot (5) again, the North Carolina big man averages a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Bacot is also a defensive force, as he averages two blocks per game.

The Tar Heels have three other scorers averaging double digit pointes per game, led by RJ Davis (4) with 21. Davis is a 41.7 percent three point shooter, 93.8 percent free throw shooter, and leads the team in steals with 1.4 per game.

UNC has only lost three times this season, with their most recent coming on December 16th of last year. They are favored against FSU with ESPN giving the Tar Heels a 71.7 percent chance to win.

The game total is projected at 151.4 points. The Tar Heels are -4.3 betting favorites.

Stats compiled from ESPN.

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