GREENSBORO, N.C. -- North Carolina has bounced back before this season -- the latest example being a smaller-lineup spurred six-victory streak after its February 13 loss at Duke.
The question now, after losing to the then-third ranked Blue Devils by 16 points last weekend: Can the Tar Heels (22-9) bounce back again, beginning with Friday night’s ACC tournament quarterfinal matchup against Florida State?
“I think we were playing pretty well [before the latest Duke loss],” UNC coach Roy Williams said during his radio show earlier this week. “And I don’t think you can let one game crush you and lead to another one and another one. That does happen with some teams that struggle quite a bit -- but we had been playing pretty well, so hopefully we’ll handle it that way.”
The Tar Heels believe their lackluster performance against the Blue Devils (when Duke got off to a double-figures lead, and UNC never got on track) was just a blip. They point to their four-guard-lineup-spurred speed, aggression and scoring prior to that loss, and believe they can get it all back.
“We know who we are,’’ sophomore P.J. Hairston said earlier this week. “We know what we did wrong. We know where it went wrong, and we know how to fix it, because we’ve fixed it before. And it’s something that can be fixed, and we can turn it around.”
A few things to watch when the third-seeded Tar Heels face the sixth-seeded Seminoles at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET:
You can’t write anything about the Seminoles without first mentioning Snaer, the senior guard who hit four game-winning shots during the ACC regular season (and has buried six over the past two seasons).
He’s averaging 14.4 PPG. And although he didn’t need a game winner to beat Clemson during Thursday’s ACC first-round game, “Mr. Clutch” did convert four free throws in the final 23 seconds to seal the victory.
The Seminoles (18-14) have won four of their past five games.
UNC’s 3-POINT SHOOTING
The Tar Heels made only 1 of their 14 3-point attempts against the Blue Devils, as starting wing Reggie Bullock went 0-for-4 from long distance, Hairston went 1-for-6 and reserve Leslie McDonald was 0-for-3. The team had converted roughly 42 percents of its 3s during its six-game winning streak.
UNC needs to take smarter shots -- and make them.
Seminoles forward Okaro White scored a career-high 24 points against Clemson in Thursday’s victory. … UNC swept FSU in the season series this year, winning 77-72 and 79-58. … The Tar Heels are 11-7 all time as the third seed in this tournament. … FSU entered the tourney as the ACC leader in both free throw shooting percentage and blocked shots.