North Carolina (20-8, 10-5) vs. Florida State (15-13, 7-8)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
Sunday, 2 p.m.
CBS (Marv Albert, Steve Kerr)
“I've never had this many first year players all at one time in our rotation since I've been at Miami. I'm still holding out that we'll finish the season strong going into the ACC tournament and perform well. Regardless where we are in the end, I'm sure we'll be playing in somebody's tournament. I'm anxious to see how we do in the post season.” – Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton
"I think he gives us a true point guard. He's the only true point guard on our team and I tell him all the time that he is going to be really good. He's already good now but he's just going to keep getting better and better. He's a great decision maker and he enjoys that role of being the point guard and facilitating to all of the players on the court." – FSU junior forward Okaro White on Devon Bookert
Since the Last Meeting: Florida State enters Sunday’s contest with a 15-13 (7-8 ACC) record. The Seminoles have dropped seven of their last 12 games since losing to North Carolina in early January. Leonard Hamilton’s squad has lost five of its last six on the road by an average of 21.2 points.
Snaer Warming Up: Michael Snaer, FSU’s senior All-American guard, has elevated his play in recent weeks with 20-point games in three of his last four outings. The Moreno, Calif. native scored 24 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the Seminoles’ 76-62 win over Wake Forest on Tuesday. Snaer ranks 10th in the ACC in scoring with a 14.2 average and has added clutch shooter to a resume that already includes defensive stopper. The 6-foot-5, 202-pound guard has connected on three buzzer-beating shots this season to go along with a pair last season.
Bookert at the Point: How troubling has the point guard situation been for Hamilton this season? True freshman Devon Bookert, who suffered a knee injury in a scooter accident during the fall, has tied Snaer for team lead in assists (67) 28 games into the season. Bookert has started the past five games at the point and is averaging 8.2 points and 3.6 assists per contest. The Anchorage, Alaska native also boasts a solid 2:1 assist-turnover ratio in 29.2 minutes per game and is shooting 50 percent from 3-point range (24-of-48) on the season.
Not Your Usual FSU D: Florida State has made a habit out of leading the ACC – and even the nation a couple of times – in field goal percentage defense. That standard operating procedure apparently took a year off in 2012-13 as the Seminoles rank 10th in ACC play in field goal percentage defense (45.7) and 11th in 3-point field percentage defense. A three-guard starting lineup with 6-foot-8, 200-pound Okaro White at the four has taken away some of the physical play that FSU has long been noted for under Hamilton.
Odd Dynamic: The Seminoles blocked 12 shots in their win over Wake Forest to move into a tie with Miami for the lead in blocks (5.3 per game) in conference play. Florida State also outrebounded the Demon Deacons by 23, which dramatically increased its rebounding margin – to minus-6.0. The Seminoles rank dead last in ACC play in rebounding margin and have been outrebounded 10 times by ACC opponents, including six times by 10 or more.
Shannon Still Out: Hamilton told reporters earlier this week that he didn’t expect junior forward Terrance Shannon (8.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg) to return from a neck injury in time for Sunday’s game in Chapel Hill. The Forsyth, Ga. native, who scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds in FSU’s loss to UNC, suffered a neck sprain during the Seminoles’ 20-point lass at Virginia on Jan. 19, which forced him to spend a night at a hospital in Charlottesville. Hamilton said he’s optimistic that Shannon will return prior to the ACC Tournament.
Last Meeting: UNC defeated Florida State, 77-72, at the Tucker Center on Jan. 12. P.J. Hairston paced the Tar Heels with a then career-high 23 points and Jackson Simmons played big down the stretch, finishing with a career-high eight points and four rebounds. UNC outrebounded FSU, 41-19, and ended the game on a 12-4 run.
Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Florida State, 43-12. The Tar Heels have won 24 of the last 31 meetings, including eight of the nine at the Smith Center.
1 Devon Bookert (6-3, 185, Fr.) - 5.7 ppg, 2.4 apg
25 Aaron Thomas (6-5, 195, Fr.) - 6.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg
21 Michael Snaer (6-5, 202, Sr.) - 14.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg
10 Okaro White (6-8, 204, Jr.) - 12.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg
50 Michael Ojo (7-1, 290, Fr.) - 0.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg
31 Terry Whisnant (6-3, 185, So.) - 5.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg
30 Ian Miller (6-3, 186, Jr.) - 5.8 ppg, 2.0 apg
11 Kiel Turpin (7-0, 240, Jr.) - 5.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
5 Montay Brandon (6-7, 216, Fr.) - 3.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg
15 Boris Bojanovsky (7-3, 240, Fr.) - 3.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg
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(Photos by USA Today Sports)