UNC vs. Florida State Odds & Picks: Value on Over/Under in ACC College Basketball Showdown
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: North Carolina’s Garrison Brooks and Leaky Black.
- Florida State dominated its most recent game after a prolonged break because of COVID-19.
- The Tar Heels have been similarly impressive in recent wins.
- Pat McMahon breaks down the ACC battle below, including a pick on the game's total.
UNC vs. Florida State Odds
A pair of ACC heavyweights clash in Tallahassee on Saturday as North Carolina takes on Florida State.
After a rocky start to ACC play, the Tar Heels enter this game winners of three straight. They’re still looking for a signature win to stamp on their NCAA Tournament resume and have a great opportunity here to knock off the Seminoles on the road.
Florida State returned to action on Wednesday after a two-week layoff and pummeled NC State, 105-73. The Seminoles showed no signs of rust in their first game back from a program pause, shooting a scintillating 70.7% from the floor in the win.
One piece of bad news came out of that game, however, as Scottie Barnes exited the court early in the second half with an ankle injury. Leonard Hamilton said on Friday morning that Barnes will likely be a game-time decision on Saturday.
When North Carolina has the ball
Few teams rely on their interior offense as much as the Tar Heels. Carolina’s three leading scorers are all post players: Armando Bacot (11.3 ppg), Garrison Brooks (10.7), and Day’Ron Sharpe (9.7).
Being able to bring Sharpe off the bench without missing a beat is a huge luxury for Roy Williams. It also mitigates foul trouble issues for the Heels and allows all three players to play with freedom and aggressiveness on both ends of the floor.
These Carolina big men do damage in multiple ways: banging it in the post and crashing the offense glass relentlessly.
The Tar Heels are averaging an incredible 16.7 offensive boards per game and have nearly doubled their opponents’ total offensive rebounds on the season (200 to 109).
The offensive glass was a huge reason the Heels beat Syracuse on Wednesday. They managed to grab 24 offensive boards and put up 24 second-chance points — compared to just four from Syracuse — in a six-point victory.
The Tar Heels are struggling to get consistent production from their backcourt. None of their guards are huge scoring threats, and they’re only shooting 29.3% from three-point range as a team.
Freshman point guard Caleb Love is a strong ball-handler and can get to the rim, but his shooting struggles have limited his production. Love is making 18% of his 3-point attempts on the season. Shooting guard Kerwin Walton is their top outside shooter (44.4%) and is playing strong as of late, averaging 11.3 points during their three-game winning streak.
Per usual, Hamilton’s team is really good defensively. The Seminoles rank 40th in defensive efficiency, per KenPom. Opponents are struggling to score from the field and are shooting just 40.2% against Florida State. The 3-point defense hasn’t been very strong, however, as opponents are connecting on 35.3% from deep.
The strength of the Florida State defense stems from the Seminoles’ collective size and depth. Most teams can’t match the Tar Heels’ frontcourt, but the Seminoles are deep down low and possess the size to hang with the UNC big men.
The Noles are also very long and athletic at every position. They also play nine or 10 deep on a given night and use it to their advantage to overwhelm opponents with constant pressure.
When Florida State has the ball
The Seminoles simply could not miss against NC State on Wednesday night. After lighting up the Wolfpack for 105 points, they moved up to 14th nationally in offensive efficiency. While they won’t be that hot every night, it was an encouraging sign for how good this offense can be moving forward.
Florida State boasts a balanced attack with a trio of guards leading the way.
Barnes is its best player and top playmaker, so the offense could certainly take a step back if he isn’t able to go. Leading scorer MJ Walker (15.8 ppg) will have a lot on his shoulders if Barnes isn’t available. In addition to his scoring, he’ll have to handle the ball a lot more and create shots for his teammates.
Anthony Polite (53.6%) and Rayquan Evans (45.5%) have both been lights out from 3-point range and take a lot of pressure off Walker and Barnes as opponents have to respect their shooting. Evans posted a career-high 24 points against NC State on 9-of-11 shooting.
In the frontcourt, Balsa Koprivica and RaiQuan Gray don’t put up the numbers that UNC’s forwards do, but they’re still quality options. The 7-foot-1 Koprivica has great touch around the rim and is tough to handle in the post. Gray is a unique talent who can bang in the post but is also a great ball-handler for his size. He may even spend time at the point for the Noles if Barnes is out.
The Tar Heels have been terrific defensively and have the athletes to slow down the Seminoles’ attack. They currently rank 17th in adjusted defensive efficiency.
A major reason for their defensive success is their ability to limit opponents to one shot per trip. They’re almost as dominant on the defensive glass as they are on the offensive glass, and are grabbing more than 13 rebounds a game more than their opponents.
Their guards are athletic and very strong on the defensive end. The backcourt depth really helps out the defense as well, as five guards see consistent minutes.
Tar Heels-Seminoles Pick
This is a tricky game to handicap with Barnes’ status not yet known.
The angle that I think presents the most value is the under. I know it seems scary backing a Florida State under after the offensive explosion they put up on Wednesday night. North Carolina coming off an 81-point outing against Syracuse also makes the under feel uncomfortable.
However, both defenses are very strong and could slow down the opposing offense.
North Carolina has the best defense Florida State’s seen all year and should be able to disrupt the Seminoles’ guards. If Barnes doesn’t go, the Seminoles could really struggle to create open shots.
On the flip side, Florida State has the size needed to limit North Carolina’s offensive rebounding opportunities. They’ll look to keep the Tar Heels out of the paint and force the guards to beat them with jump shots, which they haven’t haven proven the ability to do.
Keep an eye on Barnes’ status on Saturday morning prior to tip. I like this under whether or not Barnes suits up, but it has more value if he is out.
Pick: Under 144.5 ( down to 143)