Sunday, March 11, 2012

ACC Championship: UNC v FSU in an Epic January 14 Rematch

By Spencer Pyke

Spencer has predicted every ACC Tournament game this week. So far, he is 9 for 10. Today, the championship is on the line. UNC v FSU. Who will he pick? Will he be right? Here's a hunch: yes.

After ten games the ACC Tournament has come down to two teams, #1 North Carolina University against #3 Florida State University, in yet another highly anticipated rematch this tournament has granted us. While UNC looks to win its 46th ACC Championship, FSU seeks its first.

In their only matchup of the season back on Jan. 14 the ‘Noles toppled the Tar Heels, 90 – 57, as sharp-shooter Deividas Dulkys drained 8 of 10 from beyond the arch in way to a career-high 32 points. It marked the one time this season the Seminoles scored 90 points, and was the only time all season UNC lost to an ACC program by double digits. Florida State’s bench outscored Carolina’s 24 – 8 and outrebounded them 41 – 33, that day showing their depth and athleticism. Michael Snaer, who put the team on his shoulders in the second half against Duke yesterday, scored 17 points in the win against UNC and will need a primetime performance in today’s Championship Game if the ‘Noles hope to be the first program besides UNC or Duke to win the ACC since Maryland in 2004.

Michael Snaer and the 'Noles look to cap their dream season with the program's first ACC Championship
AP Photo - Gerry Broome

Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and Jim Henson were the only Tar Heels in double figures  on January 14, and with Henson in question due to his wrist injury, Carolina will need big performances from James Michael McAdoo, Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall if they hope to slow down their opponent’s high-powered offense. Despite the win yesterday, North Carolina looked slightly sluggish from mid-range and beyond the arch which does not bode well going in to today’s game.

A few things to consider before a prediction:
  • Carolina has won 23 of their last 25 games while State has won 14 of their last 17
  • Both teams shot under 25% from beyond the arch yesterday, a sign of the grueling tournament stretch
  • ESPN stated yesterday that “Roy Williams is 3 – 0 in his plaid blue Jacket”
Roy Williams continues to KTG in his blue plaid coat as Carolina seeks their 46th ACC Championship 
AP Photo

After winning 14 of their last 17, Florida State and Head Coach Leonard Hamilton would love nothing more than to cap off the 23-win season by giving FSU its first ever ACC Championship title. Knocking off Duke twice this season and UNC once so far proves they are able to go round for round with the heavyweights.

UNC, coming off winning 23 of their last 25, is hungrier than ever to prove their embarrassing loss back in January was a one-time fluke. This game will go down in the ACC Vault for sure as Leonard Hamilton shows why he is the ACC Coach of Year, leading the ‘Noles their first ACC Championship.

FSU wins it, 73-70.

Check out Spencer's local, Lynchburg, Virginia sports blog, HillCitySports.com

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