No. 24 FSU's ACC slate begins with No. 12 UNC (Jan 03, 2018)

BY AP • January 2, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Atlantic Coast Conference front office didn't do Florida State any favors when it made the Seminoles' schedule this season.

Five huge tests in Florida State's first five games -- all against perennial ACC powers -- means one of two results for the No. 24 Seminoles early on: feast or famine.

And so far, Florida State is still hungry for that first conference win.

Coming off a loss in its ACC opener at Duke this past Saturday, Florida State (11-2, 0-1 ACC) hosts No. 12 North Carolina (12-2, 1-0) on Wednesday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

It could be a battle that keeps one of the nation's longest home winning streaks alive -- or sends Florida State to an 0-2 conference start after going 11-1 during the non-conference part of its schedule.

The Seminoles have won 27 straight games at home dating to the end of the 2015-16 season -- marking the third-longest such streak in the nation -- but there's a problem. North Carolina hasn't lost to Florida State, on any floor, since the 2012 championship game of the ACC Tournament.

The Tar Heels enter Wednesday night's game as winners of seven in a row against the Seminoles since then, including a decisive 96-83 victory last year in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Coming off a tough loss and playing its second Top 15 team in as many games means the task at hand will be mighty for the Seminoles -- but coach Leonard Hamilton believes his team is up for it.

"I think I have a pretty good understanding of my team," Hamilton said after the 100-93 loss to Duke (13-1, 1-1) on Saturday. "I think we're competitive. I think we have quality depth. And I think we're versatile.

"They have a lot of character and they're connected (right now). And they were very disappointed to have lost this game to Duke. That was the most positive thing I can take (into the next game against North Carolina)."

Hamilton hopes the end result is positive this time considering that after playing the Tar Heels, Florida State then travels to play at No. 12 Miami (12-1, 1-0) on Jan. 7 and returns home and hosts Louisville (10-3, 0-0) on Jan. 10 and Syracuse (12-2, 1-0) on Jan. 13.

So to recap, Florida State's first five conference opponents sport a combined 69-9 record.

That's the ACC, Hamilton said.

"There has never been a conference in the history of college basketball as strong and as powerful as the ACC is every year. What's happening right now is historic," said Hamilton, who is 2-9 all time against North Carolina when the game is played in Tallahassee. "As the young folks say, 'Don't get it twisted.' There's not an easy game in the ACC."

North Carolina certainly isn't one.

The Tar Heels come into the game having won two games in a row and seven of their last eight, including a 73-69 victory over Wake Forest this past Saturday at home.

North Carolina entered that game 15-point favorites and needed a late surge against the Demon Deacons to win, furthering Hamilton's narrative about the toughness of the entire ACC.

And the newest members of the Tar Heels are learning that quickly.

"We got eight new guys," North Carolina coach Roy Williams told the after their narrow win against Wake Forest. "We got seven of them who have never played an ACC basketball game and don't understand that every night it's going to be a grind."

Forward Luke Maye leads the Tar Heels with averages of 18.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, e fellow guards Joel Berry averages 17.2 points and Kenny Williams averages 12.4 points.

Florida State forward Phil Cofer comes into Wednesday's matchup after a career-high 28 points in the loss to Duke. But guard Terance Mann, who the Seminoles go, averaging a team-best 14.6 points and six rebounds per game while shooting just above 62 percent from the field.

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