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January 12, 2013
From Miami frying pan to FSU fire
Here we go again. This is exactly what happened in the 2009-2010 season. The sky is falling on the Tar Heels season. Can this team ever put a full 40 minutes together? Will they get over .500 in the ACC play? What if UNC doesn't make the tournament this year?
All are questions that are being asked by the fans following the Tar Heels start in the ACC.
With its 0-2 start in the ACC and 10-5 overall, fans are worrying more than ever about their team.
Tar Heel faithful, tell me if you have heard this before from the players, the coaches, and from others: There is no need to panic quite yet.
That statement still holds true as of right now.
There might have been too much pressure on these kids, and now will be the time to stand beside and support the Tar Heels through thick and thin.
However, when at UNC, the expectations to succeed are so high every year, no matter how old one is, what class you are, or how much experience one has had in the past.
Roy Williams understands that, as he mentioned it in his opening statement Thursday night.
"When you play basketball at North Carolina people expect a lot from you. I've got some really good kids that are hurting right now and they are also feeling a little stressed. There's no question about that. I've got to coach better. I have to do a better job coaching my team."
It seems that the Tar Heels broke down defensively towards the end of the 68-59 setback to Miami, as the focus and toughness of these players just seemed to be misplaced from time to time.
"There are multiple reasons why (we broke down) but I think it comes down to us," said James Michael McAdoo, summing up the situation rather well.
No one can help this team on the court; they will have to unite as a team, come together, and get through the hard times as a unit.
Yes, everyone has credited to how young this team may be and there is a learning curve that UNC will have to go through. However, starting 0-2 isn't the end of the world, but the spiraling downhill needs to end and fast if the team wants to revive its season and still harbor legitimate postseason hopes.
"It's extremely stressful. You play the game to win, and when you have a lot of opportunities like we did and then to just see it kind of slip away gradually really hurts" replied Marcus Paige about the teams emotions after the loss. "This one we wanted, trying to get our first conference win. No one's panicking."
The expectations again may be too high for this team as of right now, but when you come to Carolina, one comes to try to fulfill those expectations set upon them by the media and fans.
SEMINOLES LOOK FOR REPEAT
There's no time for self-loathing on behalf of the Tar Heels, as UNC travels to Tallahassee Saturday afternoon to face Florida State (10-5, 2-0), a team that has been hot as of late, and starting 2-0 in the ACC.
Starting 0-3 in the ACC could be detrimental to this team, almost needing to go on a run in the ACC to make the tournament, especially with wins against future opponents like NC State and Duke.
Most everyone remembers the last time UNC traveled down to Tallahassee, and needless to say, it wasn't a pretty game to watch.
UNC lost 90-57 in one of the most embarrassing losses
in school history.
Florida State struggled early on this season with some embarrassing losses on its resume (South Alabama, Mercer, and Auburn) and people were ready to write them off to be a threat in the ACC.
Now Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles are back in the mix, especially with its recent come-from-behind victory over a very good Maryland team.
Hamilton will not change his philosophy on how to beat the Tar Heels and why should he after beating them twice last year?
Michael Snaer leads the Seminoles against the Tar Heels, as he leads the team with 15.6 points per game. The 6-foot-5 guard is shooting a better percentage from 3-point range (40.8 percent) than from the floor (40.4 percent) and has been averaging 17.0 points per game in his last seven matchups.
Okaro White and Ian Miller, who combined for 32 points in the win against Maryland, will be other key components for FSU against Carolina.
Miller has slowly returned from injury and Hamilton knows his ability and presence will be a key factor in the game.
"Ian seems to be back now physically, but I'm sure it's going to take him a little while to get back on top of his game. You don't miss all those practices and games and pick up" Hamilton replied.
This will be the third opponent in a row that the Tar Heels have faced that are solid on the defensive end and pride themselves on that side of the ball.
FSU now leads the ACC in blocked shots (6.1) and steals (7.6) per game (had 13 blocks in the game against Maryland).
Furthermore, FSU will be chomping at the bit after seeing the lack of defense behind the arc by the Tar Heels on Thursday, as the Seminoles are averaging 7.1 made three pointers a game.
The Carolina defense will have to be on top of its game Saturday if they want to come away with its first victory in ACC play. The mental breakdowns on defense, sloppy play on offense, and lack of intensity can't happen in what will be a very hostile environment.
All eyes will be on the young team, looking to see if the coaches and players can turn their season around. But the Seminole fans will be out, looking to make a statement in the ACC and creating a similar result as last year in Tallahassee.
There's nothing more thrilling for Seminole fans than when their team wins and the Donald L. Tucker Arena is echoing the sounds of "Oooooooh, Oh, Ooohhhhhhh,' doing the Seminole War Chant.
Tip off is scheduled for 2:00 eastern time and will be aired on ESPN.