North Carolina is in contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, leaving Florida State with a massive opportunity at home on Saturday. The Tar Heels are a 6.5-point road favorite, with the over/under at 153.5 points.
North Carolina vs. Florida State Prediction
Winning on the road is increasingly difficult in college basketball. North Carolina has a good enough team to win just about anywhere. Not only have the Tar Heels won nine straight, but they’ve won each game during that streak by double-digits, including four road wins.
Florida State has been playing well over the past month, but the Seminoles still boast a largely unimpressive defense and have a major defensive rebounding disadvantage as they go up against Armando Bacot and Harrison Ingram. Unless FSU finds a way to slow down R.J. Davis, which they couldn’t do last time around, it’s going to be tough for the ‘Noles to keep up with North Carolina’s offense.
Florida State has won with its depth under Leonard Hamilton, but for the first time in quite a while, the Tar Heels have the depth to match them. A typically starter-heavy UNC team has gotten great minutes out of Seth Trimble and Jae’lyn Withers in recent games, making it more difficult for teams to prepare for the Heels’ offense.
Winning comfortably on the road isn’t easy, but North Carolina looks like it’s a tier above the rest of the ACC right now regardless of location.
North Carolina vs. Florida State Prediction: North Carolina -6.5 (-110)
North Carolina vs. Florida State Odds
North Carolina is a solid 6.5-point road favorite, entering at -275 on the moneyline. The over/under is 153.5 points.
The Tar Heels have looked like one of the best teams in the country in recent weeks, but winning on the road in this sport is difficult — is Florida State’s recent success a sign that winning in Tallahassee won’t come easily for North Carolina?
North Carolina vs. Florida State Key Matchups
Here are some key matchups that could impact North Carolina vs. Florida State on Saturday.
R.J. Davis vs. Florida State Defense
Florida State’s defense has stepped up at different points of the team’s recent surge, and that was on display when the Seminoles held Syracuse to a 1-of-14 showing from beyond the arc earlier in the week. Florida State lost last weekend when Clemson shot over 40% from three, but won days earlier when Miami was only 7-of-28 from three. Sometimes it’s just that simple.
Does North Carolina have a path to a big day from three? R.J. Davis is the key. Davis is an All-American contender, averaging a career-best 41.7% from three. He’s coming off a dominant 36-point game against Wake Forest and is shooting a remarkable 46.9% from three over his last 11 games. After a 27-point showing against FSU in December, the ‘Noles need to do a better job of containing one of the ACC’s top offensive threats to win this game.
The Seminoles have their share of defensive vulnerabilities, but they do frequently win the turnover battle. Florida State opponents are averaging 15.5 turnovers per game, a top-25 mark for FSU, while UNC is forcing far fewer turnovers (11.4 per game).
Most importantly, the Tar Heels don’t turn the ball over often. They turn the ball over barely more than 10 times per game, a top-50 mark in the nation, though UNC has only won the turnover battle in two of its last seven games. The results have still been wins for the Tar Heels, which is why they might be the safer pick on Saturday, but Florida State’s defense will need to force a few more turnovers than UNC is accustomed to and prevent a few additional scoring opportunities for such a powerful offense.
North Carolina Sports Betting Update
North Carolina sports betting is currently legal and set to go live at noon EST on March 11 — just eight days before the start of the NCAA tournament. At this time, North Carolina residents will be able to take advantage of new user bonuses like a bet $1 get $365 in bonus bets from Bet365 North Carolina and a 20% deposit match offer of up to $1,000 in bonus bets from DraftKings North Carolina to wager on their favorite teams.
For up-to-date North Carolina sports betting coverage — including the best new user promo codes — check out the “NC Sports Betting” tab on Lineups.
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