Florida State Seminoles (19-7 SU, 7-14 ATS) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (14-13 SU, 7-17 ATS), 7:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, February 24, 2010, Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, N.C. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: FSU -2.5/UNC +2.5
If you were told before the season that one of these teams is headed towards the NCAA tournament and one may not even make the NIT, you would probably guess that North Carolina is the NCAA tournament team and Florida State is the team struggling to even reach the NIT. But, you would be wrong. Florida State needs to keep winning games to lock up a spot in the NCAA tournament, while North Carolina is only playing for its pride at this point.
The Tar Heels have lost two games in a row, six of their last seven, and nine of their last 11. They’ve only won one road game all season long, and they’ve lost four of their last five home games. Normally, the Tar Heels are tough to beat at the Dean Dome, but that’s not the case this season.
In their last game, the Tar Heels lost 71-67 at Boston College on Saturday. Deon Thompson led UNC with 17 points and nine rebounds. Thompson has been the Heels’ most consistent scorer this season, scoring in double figures in all but four games. But he is only averaging 6.4 rebounds per game and he hasn’t at least 10 rebounds in game since November 23. John Henson scored 11 points in the loss to BC, and Marcus Ginyard had 10 points. The Heels only shot 39 percent from the field and 1-for-8 from 3-point range. Despite having a huge size advantage down low, the two teams were even on the boards. BC shot 40 percent from the field and 6-for-17 from 3-point range, so the Eagles didn’t shoot spectacularly, but the Heels couldn’t execute on the offensive end, they didn’t use their size to their advantage, and they only forced eight turnovers.
With Ed Davis injured and out for the season, other players like Thompson and Ginyard have to step up and carry the offensive load for the Heels.
Florida State has enjoyed a solid season thus far and simply needs to avoid any bad losses to get an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament. This game would be considered a bad loss, so it’s important for FSU to come away with a road victory in Chapel Hill. The Seminoles have won two games in a row, but they haven’t put together a three-game winning streak since January 4. They haven’t won three consecutive ACC regular season games since February 10, 2009.
In Florida State’s last game, the Seminoles won 69-50 at Virginia last Wednesday. Four Seminoles player scored in double figures, led by Chris Singleton’s 12 points. Xavier Gibson, Ryan Reid and Luke Loucks were each in double figures in scoring as well. The Seminoles shot 50 percent from the field and 7-for-14 on 3-pointers. They out-rebounded Virginia by six and only committed 10 turnovers. They held the Cavaliers to 38 percent shooting from the field and 5-for-18 on 3-pointers.
Surprisingly, North Carolina actually has a few statistical advantages on Florida State in conference play. The Tar Heels are shooting 30 percent from 3-point range and allowing opponents to make 37 percent of their 3-point attempts, while FSU is shooting 28 percent from beyond the arc and allowing its opponents to shoot 39 percent from 3-point range. Florida State is committing 15.5 turnovers per game in conference play, and North Carolina is committing 15.2 per game. Even in the other statistical categories, the Seminoles don’t have a huge advantage. They are forcing three more turnovers per game than UNC and they have +3 rebounding margin while UNC is +1 on the boards. FSU is shooting 43 percent from the field and holding opponents to 41 percent, while UNC is shooting 40 percent from the field and holding its opponents to 43 percent shooting.
FSU is 5-1 ATS in its last six games as a road favorite, 1-5 ATS in its last six games as a favorite, and 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games overall. Both of these teams have very poor ATS records for the season, as FSU is 7-14 and UNC is 7-17. The Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss, 1-4 ATS in their last four home games, 0-7 ATS in their last four games as an underdog, and 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams and the underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings. The under is 3-1 in the last four meetings between these teams at North Carolina. FSU is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings overall and 6-2 ATS in its last eight games at North Carolina.
Ryno’s Pick: The general betting public has yet to figure out that the Tar Heels really aren’t all that good this year, despite having some big name talent. Look for Florida State to embarrass the Tar Heels at the Dean Dome and to take out some 20 years or more of pent up aggression on them. I expect FSU to win by 7 points or so.