North Carolina (17-7, 7-4) vs. Florida State (15-10, 6-7)
Tallahassee, Fla. - Tucker Center
Monday, 7 p.m.
ESPN (Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas)
"I was very proud of our guys for maintaining their poise and not allowing themselves to get down on themselves. They kept executing and whittling away at the lead and put ourselves within striking distance at halftime." – FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton on his team’s play after falling behind by 16 points at Wake Forest on Saturday
Season to Date: Florida State enters Monday’s contest with a 15-10 (6-7 ACC) record. The Seminoles opened ACC play with a 4-2 record before losing five of six, including a 77-73 loss to Miami at home on Feb. 10. Leonard Hamilton’s squad bounced back with a 67-60 win over Wake Forest on Saturday. FSU currently ranks 64th in the RPI.
Thomas Moves into Starting Lineup: After serving as one of the top reserves in the ACC for the majority of the season, sophomore guard Aaron Thomas has cemented his spot in the starting lineup over the past four games. The 6-foot-5, 195-pounder is averaging 19.0 points over that span and leads FSU in scoring for the season with 13.5 points per game. He’s shooting 46.5 percent from the floor, including a 44.3 percent effort from long range. Thomas, known for his defensive ability, also ranks fifth in the ACC in steals per game (1.7).
Defense Remains a Staple: Hamilton’s program has been built on defense, so it should come as no surprise that the Seminoles rank fourth in field goal percentage defense (39.9) and sixth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (33.7). FSU is averaging 5.0 blocks (2nd ACC) and 4.5 steals (12th) per game. The Seminoles also rank 11th nationally in effective defensive field goal percentage (43.9) and seventh in 2-point field goal percentage defense (41.6), according to kenpom.com.
Miller Back After Injury: Senior guard Ian Miller’s career has been hampered at times by injury and this season has been no different. The Charlotte, N.C. native sprained his ankle early in FSU’s loss to Clemson on Feb. 1 and missed the next two games. He scored 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting in his first game back against Miami before leading all scorers with 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting on Saturday. Miller is averaging 13.3 points and a team-high 3.0 assists per game this season.
Turnover Trouble: Despite solid statistics on both ends of the floor in conference play, the Seminoles have been hampered by a league-leading 13.0 turnovers per game. As a result, FSU ranks 14th in turnover margin (minus-2.31) and 15th in assist-turnover ratio (0.8) in ACC play.
Last Meeting: UNC defeated Florida State, 83-62, in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals on Mar. 15, 2013. P.J. Hairston led the Tar Heels with 21 points and Reggie Bullock added 17. UNC scored 27 points off 18 turnovers and took control with a 13-0 run early in the second half.
Series History: The Tar Heels lead the overall series with the Seminoles, 45-12. UNC has won 15 of the last 19 meetings.
1 Devon Bookert (6-3, 185, So.) - 8.6 ppg, 2.9 apg
25 Aaron Thomas (6-5, 195, So.) - 13.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg
32 Montay Brandon (6-7, 216, So.) - 8.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg
10 Okaro White (6-9, 204, Sr.) - 12.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg
50 Michael Ojo (7-1, 292, So.) - 2.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg
30 Ian Miller (6-3, 198, Sr.) - 13.3 ppg, 3.0 apg
15 Boris Bojanovsky (7-3, 240, So.) - 6.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg
14 Robert Gilchrist (6-9, 220, Sr.) - 3.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg
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(Photos from USA Today Sports)