UNC Basketball vs. Florida State: Game preview, info, prediction and more
The UNC basketball program heads to Florida State for its final road game of the season on Monday night.
This is the first meeting of the season between the two programs. Both are coming off big, emotional wins.
The Tar Heels (18-11, 10-8) head into this game coming off their first Quad 1 win of the season and a signature win for their NCAA Tournament resume against Virginia. On the flip side, Florida State (9-20, 7-11) rallied from 25 points down and outscored Miami by 24 in the second half to win on a buzzer-beater.
While a win will do nothing for UNC’s tournament chances, a loss will surely knock the Tar Heels out of contention.
Key to Victory
Feb. 4, 2023; Durham, North Carolina; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Caleb Love (2) shoots over Duke Blue Devils guard Tyrese Proctor (5) during the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Hitting shots. There is nothing more important in any game from here on out for North Carolina than its ability to hit outside shots.
The Tar Heels rank 304th in NCAA in 3-point percentage (30.4%). They also make only 6.8 3s a game (254th).
After an abysmal 2-of-22 showing against Notre Dame earlier in the week, UNC rebounded with a 10-of-22 performance from 3 against Virginia on Saturday. It was the second time in February it shot better than 33% from 3-point range in a game.
With UNC’s offense revolving around big man Armando Bacot, the wings need to hit shots when the double-team comes in the post. Most of the UNC shots have been open or good looks, but the inability to consistently make 3s has been a theme all season long.
Pete Nance and Puff Johnson combined to shoot 6-of-7 from three on Sunday and when that duo is hitting shots and able to spread the floor, the Tar Heels’ offense clicks on all cylinders.
Florida State allows opponents to shoot 37% from 3 (341st) and make 8.7 3s per game (336th) on the season, so UNC will have opportunities on Monday, meaning it needs to convert.
Something to Watch
Pete Nance #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after making a three-point basket against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half of their game at the Dean E. Smith Center on Feb. 25, 2023 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Grant Halverson/Getty Images
The emergence of [autotag]Pete Nance[/autotag] in the past two wins is something to continue to monitor as the season comes to an end.
There is no doubt his ability on the offensive end is something the Tar Heels need more of and it’s beginning to show itself.
After averaging 4.4 points and shooting 25.7% from the floor and 6.7% from three in the previous five games, Nance has scored in double-figures in the last two wins, averaging 16.5 points and shooting 45.5% overall and 57.1% from 3 on two made 3s per game.
While he struggled shooting against Notre Dame — as did the entire team — he finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. A lot of the offense ran through him at the high post and perimeter, resulting in numerous big plays. On Sunday, he scored a game-high 22 points and was 7-of-10 from the floor.
UNC’s offense under Hubert Davis has clearly shown it is significantly better when there is a ‘4’ man who can knock down outside shots and be a threat from the perimeter. Let’s see if he continues that trend on Monday.
The offense clicks when Nance is hitting shots and aggressive looking to make plays offensively. Let’s see if that continues and if there are additional sets for Nance.
What you need to know
WHAT? North Carolina (18-11, 10-8 ACC) at Florida State (9-20, 7-11 ACC)
WHEN? Monday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m. ET
WHERE? Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Florida
TV? ESPN (Watch and stream the game live on ESPN+)
RADIO? Tar Heels Sports Network
LAST MEETING? Feb.12, 2022. UNC 94, Florida State 74
ALL-TIME SERIES? UNC leads 52-16
PREDICTION? UNC 74, Florida State 62