The hopeful North Carolina Tar Heels take on the Florida State Seminoles in freshman star Cole Anthony’s second game back from injury.
TV SCHEDULE: Monday, February 3rd, 2020 at 7:00 PM ET, ESPN
LOCATION: Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Florida
Despite Tar Heels guard Cole Anthony scoring 26 points in his first game back since December 8th against the Boston College Eagles, it was not enough to turn around the Tar Heels. The Tar Heels have been reeling since Anthony went down with an injury. The thought was Anthony would provide a much-needed spark against Boston College, which he did, but it just was not enough. Which begs the question; is this who the Tar Heels are? A .500 team?
That remains to be seen but a good test for the North Carolina Tar Heels will be the Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles only three losses on the year have been against Virginia, Indiana and their opening night game against Pittsburgh. The Seminoles have reeled off 11 wins in 12 games which have vaulted them into some top seeding talk.
The Seminoles have been led by 6’6’’ sophomore guard Devin Vassell. On the year, Vassell has averaged a team-lead 13.9 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game while adding on 1.7 assists per game. Vassell is an effective shooter. He has shot 50.7% from the field including 44% from three-point range. His player efficiency rating has jumped 7.3 points from 20.1 in 2018-19 to 27.4 in 2019-20; a telling sign Vassell’s game is coming together.
In Cole Anthony’s absence, forward Garrison Brooks has stepped up to keep the Tar Heels from spiraling into a complete disaster. In the nine games before Cole Anthony’s injury, Brooks average 33.1 minutes per game on 50.7% shooting which was good for 11.6 points per game. In the twelve games since Anthony went down (including Cole Anthony’s subsequent return against Boston College), Brooks has averaged 35.8 minutes per game on 53.9% shooting and 18.2 points per game.
Not only did Brooks take on more minutes put he became more efficient for Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels. This revelation should not be ignored with Anthony’s return. In fact, this should give Anthony one more weapon to distribute to or to shoulder the offensive load when Anthony needs a spell.
In one of the more unpredictable basketball seasons in recent memory, it’s truly difficult to predict games with any confidence. With that being said, the Tar Heels will take this game. In Anthony’s second game back, the Tar Heels will find their groove once more and take down a top-10 Florida State Seminoles team.
PREDICTION: North Carolina 74, Florida State 71