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College Basketball Pick
Florida State is one of the hottest teams in the country, winners of 12 straight, but a trip to Chapel Hill is exactly what could cool them off. The Seminoles have been dominant at home in ACC play, coming off the dismantling of Duke 88-72, and are sitting atop the conference standings. And while they won at Virginia already, this North Carolina team is a different animal, especially on its home court.
The Tar Heels have played just one conference game at home this season and that resulted in a 107-56 beat down of NC State. Both teams look set to be top 10 contenders all season, which is something new for Florida State. They already got by three ranked ACC teams, but this may be the toughest test of them all, considering Duke was playing without Amile Jefferson.
To help the Tar Heels, they got back Theo Pinson last weekend, which adds even more depth to the team. The way to victory over a team like UNC, the opposition needs to hold its own in the paint and be able to score a lot of points. The Seminoles are averaging nearly 87 points per game, so they have that down, but they may not have the size or quality down low to win this game on the road.
Against the Blue Devils, FSU's two leading rebounders were both guards, which is concerning to a point. Obviously, it was a different matchup against Duke, but big man Michael Ojo will need to play more minutes in this game. Ojo has played more than 17 minutes just once this season and as long as he doesn't get into foul trouble, will probably surpass that mark here. The same can be said for freshman Jonathan Isaac, who could be headed for 30 minutes himself as he is the team's leading rebounder.
That size deficiency led to a 106-90 home loss to UNC last season as Brice Johnson went off for 39 points and 23 boards. Johnson is gone, but it's not like North Carolina doesn't still have talent down low. Kennedy Meeks continues to put in big numbers, almost averaging a double double, while Isaiah Hicks and Tony Bradley do plenty of work, as well. Glue guy Theo Pinson adds another athletic playmaker to the mix and that won't help FSU's chances. The Tar Heels are one of the best at getting offensive boards, while that's an area Florida State struggles in.
Of course, the Seminoles still have a great backcourt with Dwayne Bacon, Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Terance Mann, but UNC also has the talent to match these guys with Joel Berry, Nate Britt and Justin Jackson.
The Seminoles are rolling and can score points with anyone, but playing on the road against a good North Carolina team, it's likely FSU's streak will come to an end. The Heels see FSU's record and probably want to show them who the top team in the conference really is. Florida State is good, but this isn't a great matchup for them with the Heels expected to dominate the paint once again.
Our Pick - North Carolina by 16
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