Preview & Prediction: By Jeff Borzello
With just about a month and a half until Selection Sunday, it is time for bubble teams to start making a name for themselves. Not surprisingly, Florida State (16-4, 3-2) will likely be teetering on the fence come mid-March. The Seminoles have a chance to enhance their resume on Wednesday, though, as they take on #6 North Carolina (17-2, 3-2) in Tallahassee. Florida State has won three of its last four, including two road games. The Seminoles have wins over California and Florida this season. North Carolina has won three in a row since its loss at home to Wake Forest. The Tar Heels’ only other loss was against Boston College. They have wins over Kentucky, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Clemson and Miami (Fl.) so far.
North Carolina is widely considered to be the most talented team in the country, and is the odds-on favorite to win the national title come April. Ty Lawson is one of the best point guards around; he is the key to this team’s success. Wayne Ellington is starting to assert himself as a go-to scorer, averaging almost 20ppg over his last four games, while Danny Green is as versatile as they get. Deon Thompson has showed that he is a talent in his own right, and Tyler Hansbrough is an All-American down low. Ed Davis makes an impact off the bench, averaging a solid 7.7 rpg in less than 20 minutes of action.
Florida State is led by guard Toney Douglas, the team’s lone double-figure scorer at 19.6 ppg. He does it all for the Seminoles, and takes twice as many shots as anyone else on the club. Leonard Hamilton has gone away from his biggest lineup, inserting the 6-9 Uche Echefu and 6-4 Derwin Kitchen into the starting five, removing 6-7 Jordan DeMercy and 6-8 Ryan Reid. Freshman Chris Singleton has plenty of potential (2nd on the team in points and leading in rebounds) and 7-1 Solomon Alabi is solid defensively. Deividas Dulkys and Luke Loucks are gunners.
Florida State always seems to get up for big games, and this game will undoubtedly be no different. The Seminoles have the inside depth to contend with Hansbrough and co. down low, and Singleton is likely to pose a major mismatch for the Tar Heels defensively. However, it will interesting to see if FSU can get enough (or any) offensive punch from players outside of Douglas. UNC has had trouble defending scoring point guards in ACC play (ie, Tyrese Rice), and Douglas is one of the best in that category. Aside from him, though, the Seminoles don’t have a lot of scorers. They won’t be able to keep up with the Tar Heels.
WINNER: North Carolina MARGIN: 8-10
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About Jeff Borzello
National College Basketball
Jeff Borzello is a freelance writer who also runs and writes his own blog, March Madness All Season. During the season, Jeff has a weekly appearance on ESPN Radio 1300 in Baltimore and has appeared on AOL Sports Radio and CFRC Sports.. He constantly outdoes the "experts" in his projected brackets and also provides analysis and insight on every conference and team in the country. His favorite teams are Connecticut and Hofstra, showing love to both majors and mid-majors at the same time--indicative of his columns. Jeff is originally from Long Island, NY.