The North Carolina Tar Heels face off against the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday, January 14, 2012. As a huge Tar Heels fan, this particular match up always makes me nervous. Florida State is known for being incredibly good defensively, and that makes them unpredictable. The Tar Heels are on a nice winning streak having won nine straight games. Every one of those games were at home, however, and now they go back on the road. The Heels only two losses this year came on the road against Kentucky and UNLV. Florida State comes in with an 8-2 record at home, and a 10-6 record overall.
Can Harrison Barnes snap back into form?
Harrison Barnes struggled horribly in his last game against the Miami Hurricanes scoring only six points. Barnes had another game like this earlier in the season, but he snapped right back in the next contest. He will be trying to do so again here against Florida State. FSU is very much an in-your-face type of defense and particularly so at home. Harrison Barnes seems to thrive on this type of challenge, so I expect he will have a huge game. Expect to see him more aggressive in his shot attempts.
Can Ian Miller cause problems for Carolina?
Miller has been the lynchpin for the Seminoles of late and leads them in scoring. That might be bad news for Florida State because Dexter Strickland and the Heels have upped their perimeter defense of late. Strickland has been the guy to shut down the opposing team's superstar guard and I expect that Miller will be in his sights. If Strickland the Tar Heels perimeter defense can limit his offensive production, the Seminoles are going to have a major problem scoring consistently.
Can John Henson and Tyler Zeller keep the double doubles coming?
John Henson is averaging a double double on the season with 14.7 points and 10.1 boards per game. Zeller is right behind him with 14.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per contest. That type of production down low every single game is a tough hurdle for any team to overcome. Florida State has some size down low to battle defensively, but they will struggle on the offensive end of the court. The best chance that Florida State has to win this ball game would be to hold Zeller and Henson down and make the Heels win on the perimeter. I do not think they can do that, but that would be their best bet to win I think.
Like most ACC teams, the Seminoles are not in the same class as far as talent against the Heels. The only way the Seminoles will beat the Tar Heels is if the Heels beat themselves. I expect this game to be closer than many, but still the Heels will win by at least a dozen.