No. 11 North Carolina faces tall task against No. 9 Florida State (Jan 14, 2017)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina will play Saturday's game against No. 9 Florida State without reserve center Tony Bradley, who's out with a concussion suffered in the most recent game.
Bradley's absence leaves a void in the lane for the No. 11 Tar Heels because the freshman has been the team's second-best rebounder (5.7 per game) and a steady scorer (8.1 per game).
This puts the Tar Heels (15-3, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) without their tallest player against one of the country's biggest front lines.
"Their length is the same thing," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said Friday. "It's just now we don't have one of the weapons. ... They bother your shot. They bother you by getting to the passing lanes. Their length makes it hard around the basket."
Florida State (16-1, 4-0), which carries a school-record 12-game winning streak, is tied atop the ACC with Notre Dame. This marks the fourth consecutive game against a ranked opponent for the Seminoles, while the next two also are slated against teams currently in the Top 25.
"I feel I'll know a lot more about our team after we go through this stretch," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.
Bradley, who's 6 feet 11, had a collision with Wake Forest's Dinos Mitoglou and then hit his head hard on the court's floor in the first half of Wednesday night's game.
The Tar Heels went to a smaller lineup for segments of the victory at Wake Forest.
"It tends to be reasonable because we have one less guy," Williams said. "It's not our plan to go (that direction) right off the bat."
While some of North Carolina's options will be reduced without Bradley, the Tar Heels are considered to have one of the deeper rosters on the conference.
North Carolina guard Kenny Williams said it will be a challenge. After all, Florida State has 7-1 Michael Ojo, 6-10 Jonathan Isaac, 6-9 Jarquez Smith and 7-4 Christ Koumadje.
"I've definitely heard how big they are," Kenny Williams said. "That's what everybody talks about with FSU. I think everyone (on our team) will be locked in and ready to go."
The Tar Heels counter with a veteran front line of 6-10 senior Kennedy Meeks and 6-9 senior Isaiah Hicks along with 6-8 sophomore reserve Luke Maye.
Hamilton doesn't expect to pull any surprises on North Carolina.
"As we move more through the ACC, obviously teams will be more prepared," he said.
Despite the front line that has garnered considerable attention for the Seminoles, sophomore guard Dwayne Bacon leads the team in scoring with 17.8 points per game. He has scored in double figures in 26 consecutive games dating to last season.
This is only the 10th time in 61 all-time meetings that both teams are ranked when they meet. North Carolina won five of the previous such matchups. However, this is the first time that the Seminoles take the court as the higher ranked team in the only regular-season clash between the teams.
With Williams as the coach, this is the 17th time when an opponent will show up at the Smith Center with a higher ranking than the Tar Heels.