The biggest question going into Florida State’s matchup with North Carolina on Saturday: Will Scottie Barnes be available?
The freshman point guard came into the game with a strain, which prompted FSU coaches to start RayQuan Evans. Barnes also had a collision with an NC State player on Wednesday night and watched the remainder of the game from his chair courtside.
“He still has a turned ankle,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Everybody recovers from ankle turns differently. We probably won’t know until game time as to where he is. I really don’t know how severe it is.”
RayQuan Evans took on more of a prominent role as the starting point guard in the win over NC State, scoring 24 points. Barnes also had 11 points and three assists in just over 13 minutes.
Here are other storylines we’re watching as FSU plays UNC on Saturday at noon (ESPN).
Hamilton doesn’t want to draw too much from a 32-point rout of NC State. And he opened an interview with the media on Friday remarking that you can’t expect to shoot 70 percent from the floor, which is what the Seminoles did on Wednesday.
“I think it shows our potential but it also is somewhat alarming as to why it’s taken us this long to be this in sync,” Hamilton said. “We still are a work in progress. … In order for that game to be meaningful, we need to come back and do it again and again and again. We’re still trying to find ourselves. I’m not going to overreact one way or the other. I’m going to stay focused and keep trying to stick with our system and our culture and hopefully we’ll keep continuing to get better.”
Confidence in rotations
Hamilton has spoken frequently about the need to find the right rotations, analyzing who to bring off the bench and when in order to find consistent production on both ends of the court.
“I know what kind of rotation I want,” Hamilton said. “I would like to be in a position where the progress of the players, the consistency of the players are not part of my thinking when it comes to a rotation. I would like to have a little bit more working knowledge of what I can expect from guys in rotation.”
FSU was seven games into the schedule when the team was forced to take a two-week break. And the lack of a true exhibition season meant the Seminoles were also jumping right into the 2020-21 season without a real chance to evaluate off preseason games.
“Because we have four new guys that need to be in the rotation and we have had less opportunities for me to evaluate them, it’s been kind of a moving target,” Hamilton said of Barnes, Sardaar Calhoun, Tanor Ngom and Quincy Ballard. “Even the guys that are returning, their roles have changed. I need Anthony (Polite) to be a little bit more aggressive offensively. (RaiQuan) Gray has taken on a different role. Malik (Osborne), in order for us to be more successful, needs to be a little bit more consistent. (RayQuan) Evans had Trent Forrest to back up last year. His input and his efficiency has a direct bearing on the success of our team. So as I go into a game I’m still a little uneasy, I’m not real sure of my rotation as I have been in the past because I have guys who are just moving in different roles and guys who are learning a new system.”
Tar Heels crash boards
The Tar Heels (8-4, 3-2 ACC) have found recent success with wins over Notre Dame, Miami and Syracuse. But UNC is also struggling from the floor, shooting just 46.5 percent while making only 29.3 percent of 3-pointers and 68.4 percent of its free-throw attempts. Those numbers rank UNC in the 200s among the 350-plus Division I men’s basketball programs.
One area where UNC excels is rebounding, using 6-foot-10 forwards like Armando Bacot and Garrison Brooks to get second-chance opportunities. Bacot averages 8 rebounds per game, while Brooks averages 7.9. The Tar Heels pick up on average 16.6 rebounds per game.
“That’s part of who they are and their culture,” Hamilton said. “If you are not ready to do hand-to-hand combat, It could get ugly. They are just dominating people inside. That’s a tribute to their coaching and the athletes they have on the team.”
FSU’s season stats can be found here.
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