ACC Championship Game Prediction: Florida State vs North Carolina

by Joe Rodriguez

ACC Championship Game Prediction: Florida State vs North Carolina

With a shocking 33-point rout of North Carolina Tar Heels in mid-January, Florida State Seminoles sent a message to the rest of the ACC: It is tired of being called the conference's third best team.

The No. 3 seeded Seminoles will try to end that sentiment by knocking off the top-seeded Tar Heels again in the ACC championship game. It would be the first tournament title for No. 17 Florida State, which is 3-1 against North Carolina and Duke – the two two perennial powerhouses from Tobacco Road – this season.

The Seminoles handed No. 4 North Carolina its worst loss of the Roy Williams' era – a 90-57 rout in Tallahassee on Jan. 14. Deividas Dulkys hit 8 of 10 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 32 points. Florida State has won three of the last five meetings after losing 10 straight to North Carolina.

- Florida State Seminoles @ North Carolina Tar Heels
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, March 11, 2012
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
Check Live NCAA Basketball Odds on Bovada Sportsbook .

Bovada Sportsbook currently have the Tar Heels listed as 6-point favorites versus the Seminoles.

Florida State Seminoles (23-9): The Seminoles are back in the ACC title game for the second time in four years, but are hoping for a different outcome. Florida State lost to Duke 79-69 in the 2009 final. On Saturday, the Seminoles dispatched of the No. 6 Blue Devils, 62-59, behind 16 points from Michael Snaer, whose 3-pointer with just over three minutes left gave them the lead for good. Snaer, not Dulkys, is the shooter the Tar Heels need to worry about this time. The junior has averaged 19.7 points over the last three games, and has connected on 10 of 14 3-pointers in that span. He scored 17 points in the win over North Carolina.

North Carolina Tar Heels (28-4): North Carolina will likely secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament if it can win its 18th ACC tournament title, and first since 2008. That will be a difficult chore if ACC Defensive Player of the Year John Henson (wrist), who averages 10.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks, is out for a second straight game. He is questionable to play. The Tar Heels posted a controversial 69-67 win over North Carolina State without Henson on Saturday. Point guard Kendall Marshall hit a go-ahead bank shot with 10 seconds left on a play that could have been called a charge. Tyler Zeller, the ACC Player of the Year, had 23 points and nine rebounds in the win. Zeller recorded 14 points and 14 rebounds in the first meeting.

1. Dulkys is averaging only 5.7 points since his outburst against the Tar Heels.

2. Marshall, who set the ACC single-season assist record, had a season-low four assists and seven turnovers in the first meeting with the Seminoles.

3. “We can’t think about that game and try to use that game to go out and win. It’s North Carolina, it’s not going to be that easy.” - Snaer, on Florida State's rout of the Tar Heels affecting their mindset for this game.

BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Tar Heels 72, Seminoles 69.

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