Trying Not to Look Ahead

North Carolina will have to avoid looking past Florida State with its biggest game of the season looming on the horizon.

Doing so could result in all five starters finding a place on the bench early again.

The fourth-ranked Tar Heels hope to continue their dominance of the Seminoles when the teams meet Sunday afternoon in Tallahassee, Fla.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made North Carolina -10 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 72% of bets for this game have been placed on North Carolina (View College Basketball bet percentages).

Although his team came away with a 91-69 victory Thursday over Boston College, it took some maneuvering by North Carolina coach Roy Williams. Midway through the first half after watching a big lead disappear, Williams pulled all five starters off the court and ripped his players.

"When Coach takes us out five at a time, we know we did something wrong," point guard Ty Lawson said. "He was cursing us out, basically."

The curious move paid off as the Tar Heels (20-1, 5-1 ACC) tightened up defensively and eventually bridged the first and second halves with 21 straight points to put the game away.

Tyler Hansbrough scored 18 points, Deon Thompson added a career-high 17 and Lawson finished with 16 and a career high-tying 10 assists for North Carolina, which has won two straight by a combined 38 points since losing to Maryland on Jan. 19.

"It does make you mad, which it should," Hansbrough said. "That's why Coach took us out, to get on us and tell us what we're doing wrong. Hopefully, we'll go back in there and we won't do that again."

As important as North Carolina's highly-anticipated matchup with archrival Duke on Wednesday is, the result of that game won't matter nearly as much if the Tar Heels falter against Florida State (13-9, 2-5). Third-ranked Duke holds a one-game lead over North Carolina in the conference standings.

"It's important for us, just to continue on that right track and continue to play our style of basketball and continue to stay focused and be ready," Tar Heels guard Wayne Ellington said.

North Carolina has dominated the series with the Seminoles, winning six straight and 17 of the last 20 meetings. Florida State's last win came at home on Jan. 22, 2004.

The last time the Tar Heels played on Super Bowl Sunday, they beat Florida State 81-60 in Tallahassee on Feb. 6, 2005. Later that day, New England beat Philadelphia 24-21.

Hansbrough, the ACC's leading scorer (21.8), was held to seven points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field in his last meeting with the Seminoles, an 84-58 victory on Jan. 7. He has averaged 15.3 points in three games against them.

Florida State enters this contest having lost two straight and five of six, including an 89-80 defeat at Virginia Tech on Tuesday.

Although the result was another loss, the Seminoles felt much better about themselves after scoring 56 second-half points Tuesday. That was a huge step for a team that had averaged 62.2 points in the previous four games.

"We feel really good," forward Matt Zitani said. "It's kind of weird. We're 2-5 and we lost two in a row, but we came out of the second half of the Virginia Tech game and we felt we were out of this funk."

Florida State has lost three straight against ranked teams since beating No. 25 Florida on Nov. 23.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

More NCAA College Basketball Coverage from

 - NCAA College Basketball teams
 - NCAA College Basketball standings
 - NCAA College Basketball schedule
 - NCAA College Basketball scoreboard
 - NCAA College Basketball injuries
 - NCAA College Basketball matchups
 - NCAA College Basketball stats
 - NCAA College Basketball odds
 - NCAA College Basketball public betting chart
 - NCAA College Basketball news wire
 - NCAA College Basketball top stories
 - NCAA College Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NCAA College Basketball predictions
 - Expert NCAA College Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for daily newsletter
 - NCAA College Basketball Home

NCAAB Top Stories

Thumbnail Bridges staying, MSU now favored With the announcement of Miles Bridgesreturning to Michigan Statenext season, the Spartans have now emerged as the favorite to win the NCAA Tournament...
Thumbnail 2018 NCAA Championship Odds The NCAA Tournamentfor 2017 concluded last night, so now it’s time to take a closer look at what the 2018 Tournament may produce.
Thumbnail Gonzaga vs. UNC Prediction Will Gonzaga pull off the small upset tonight when it takes on North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament Championship Game at 9:20PM ET?
Thumbnail Tournament MOP Odds With the NCAA Tournamentdown to its final game, here is a look at which North Carolinaand Gonzagaplayers are among the favorites to win Most Outstanding...
Thumbnail NCAA Title Game Over/Under Prediction Will tonight's Gonzaga and North Carolina NCAA championship game at 9:20PM ET be high-scoring for bettors?

NCAAB Headlines

NCAAB Team Pages