NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (17-7)
at FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (15-10)
Donald L. Tucker Center - Tallahassee, FL
Tip-off: Monday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Florida State -1, Total: 143
Amid a six-game winning streak that has turned its ACC fortunes around, North Carolina visits a Florida State squad that sits on the bubble of NCAA Tournament contention on Monday night.
The Tar Heels began ACC play losing four of their first five games SU (0-5 ATS) but have gotten into a solid groove, going 6-0 (SU and ATS) in their past six contests. That includes a 75-71 victory against No. 25 Pittsburgh on Saturday, marking their first win over a ranked opponent during the win streak. North Carolina (13-11 ATS overall) is now 3-4 ATS on the road and 6-5 ATS in ACC action. The Seminoles have struggled lately, dropping five of their past seven (SU and ATS) to drop to 6-7 SU and 5-8 ATS in conference play. Florida State is now 13-10 ATS overall and 5-4 ATS at home, earning solid wins in non-conference play against teams such as then-No. 10 VCU and then-No. 22 Massachusetts. The 'Noles also lost by a combined three points to then-No. 14 Michigan and current No. 2 Florida, but must improve down the stretch to secure an NCAA Tournament berth. Although Carolina is just 3-11 ATS on the road when playing with less than two days of rest in the past three seasons, the Seminoles are 1-11 ATS against very good teams (8+ PPG margin) after 15+ games over the past two seasons. The Tar Heels won and covered in all three meetings between these two programs last season, but despite their dominant 25-7 SU record in this series since 1997, including 11-3 SU in Tallahassee, Florida State has kept the ATS records even over this timeframe at 16-16 ATS overall and 7-7 ATS when hosting Carolina.
Can FSU put an end to North Carolina's win streak on Monday night? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a 59% ATS (214-148-11) mark, including a hefty 62% ATS (182-114-6) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 67% ATS (48-24-2) in Best Bets for the season and 71% ATS (41-17-1) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 61% ATS (45-29-1) for the season and 67% ATS (28-14) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Zach is 56% ATS (39-31-4) on Best Bets this season, including 58% ATS (33-24-3) since Nov. 22. StatFox Scott is 56% ATS (41-32-2) for the season and 57% ATS (31-23-2) since Dec. 2, while StatFox Gary is 56% ATS (41-32-2) for the season, and 60% ATS (35-23) since Nov. 29.
The Tar Heels average 75.8 PPG (69th in Div. I) on 45.5% shooting (114th in nation) with a solid 15.7 APG (27th in Div. I). Their big offensive issues are their inability to hit three-pointers (32.4%) and free throws (62.3%, 6th-worst in nation). Their defense yields 67.6 PPG (107th in Div. I) on 39.5% shooting, but creates turnovers nicely with 7.8 SPG (36th in nation) and 5.3 BPG (35th in Div. I). Carolina also pulls down 41.0 RPG (8th in nation) and outrebounds its opponents by 5.5 RPG, including a +7.8 RPG margin during its six-game win streak. PF James Michael McAdoo (15.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG) leads that effort on the glass, and is coming off his best game of the season against Pittsburgh with 24 points (11-of-18 FG) and 12 rebounds. In last season's series with FSU, he averaged 15.7 PPG and 5.0 RPG, which could've been more, had he not battled foul trouble. McAdoo gets a lot of help on the glass from C Brice Johnson (10.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG), SF J.P. Tokoto (8.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG) and PF Kennedy Meeks (7.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG), who puts up big numbers in his paltry 16.0 MPG. The teamís leading scorer, however, is sophomore PG Marcus Paige (17.1 PPG, 4.5 APG, 3.5 RPG), who also paces the team in passing. Making 39% of his threes, heís the only decent shooter on the team, also making 91% of his free throws. While Paige is 98-of-108 from the charity stripe, his teammates are 308-for-544 from the line (57%). He shot poorly against FSU last season, scoring just 7.7 PPG on 7-for-22 FG (32%), but really controlled the offense with 7.7 APG, including 10 assists and just one turnover in the ACC Tournament victory. Fellow SG Leslie McDonald (10.5 PPG) rounds out the teamís double-digit scorers, but he shoots under 30 percent (29.9%) from behind the three-point arc.
The Seminoles have tallied a pedestrian 71.0 PPG (187th in Div. I) on 46.7% shooting (60th in nation), adding a poor 11.6 PPG (267th in Div. I) without any elite passer on the squad. That also shows with their 14.3 turnovers per game, most in the ACC. The team defense is solid however, giving up only 64.6 PPG (47th in nation) on 38.6% shooting (11th in Div. I), holding opponents to 32.3% threes. Florida State's most important asset in this game will be senior PF Okaro White (12.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG), the only Seminoles player averaging more than five rebounds per game. At 6-foot-9, White isnít extremely bulky, but he makes up for it with his tremendous athleticism, making for an exciting matchup against McAdoo. Last season he scored 15 points with six boards in the narrow 77-72 home loss to UNC, but managed only 6.0 PPG and 3.5 RPG in 28.0 MPG in the final two defeats in the series. He gets help in the paint from 7-foot-3 sophomore C Boris Bojanovsky (6.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG), who plays only 20.3 MPG but adds 2.0 BPG in that span. He has been getting more minutes recently though, averaging 7.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 4.0 BPG in 30.0 MPG in the past two contests. Florida State's two leading scorers are backcourt partners SG Aaron Thomas (13.5 PPG, 44% threes, 4.1 RPG) and PG Ian Miller (13.3 PPG, 88% FT, 3.0 APG), who leads the team in assists. Both players exploded in Saturday's 67-60 win at Wake Forest with Thomas compiling 19 points, 14 rebounds and four steals, while Miller dropped in 25 points on 8-of-12 FG and 5-of-7 threes. In last yearís ACC Tournament loss to UNC, no current Seminoles player scored double-digit points.