Florida State hasn't won at North Carolina since Jan. 22, 2000 when the Seminoles defeated the Tar Heels 76-71. When the two teams tip off Wednesday night at the Dean E. Smith Center, Florida State (19-7, 7-5 ACC) may have its best opportunity to snap its skid in Chapel Hill as the Seminoles face the Tar Heels, (14-13, 3-9 ACC) who have struggled while losing six of their last seven.
Despite UNC's troubles, Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton cautions against paying too much attention to North Carolina's poor record and not enough attention to the talent on Roy Williams' club.
"They are very talented and they are very well coached," Hamilton said. "They play very hard. You will see stretches in games where they look like they are the best team in the ACC.
"They are going to explode at some point on somebody," Hamilton added. "It is scary how well they play at times. We just have to make sure we are more concerned about how we are going to play, and I think that is the important thing regardless of who we are playing."
The Tar Heels will likely be without the services of freshman forward David Wear, who could be lost for the season due to a hip injury. His twin brother, fellow freshman Travis Wear, may return from his severe left ankle sprain that has resulted in him missing the past four games. Sophomore center Ed Davis, UNC's second-leading scorer, is out with a broken wrist.
On the court, the Tar Heels are led by senior forward Deon Thompson, who is averaging 14.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He is the only Tar Heel available that is scoring in double digits. Sophomore guard Larry Drew is the second leading scorer at 8.9 points per game and is leading the team with 5.9 assists per game.
Despite UNC's injury woes, Florida State senior center Ryan Reid looks at a Tar Heel roster loaded with former McDonald's All-Americans who have the potential to break out in any game.
"They are still a team that can beat anybody in the country," Reid said. "They have basically an NBA team over there. People say they are young and all this, but when they play up to their potential they will be good. You really can't sleep on them, because they can beat anybody on any given night."
That isn't to say the Seminoles are without talent. Florida State has a pair of McDonald's All-Americans who are playing up to their potential. Sophomore forward Chris Singleton is the league's top defender. While freshman guard Michael Snaer, who was named ACC Rookie of the Week, has begun to show the signs of his potential since entering the starting lineup four games ago. In that time, he is averaging 10.3 points per game. Snaer is looking forward to his first experience in the Dean Dome.
"I can't wait to get up there and play. I know a lot of the guys on their team and it will just be fun to play against those guys," Snaer said. "It is North Carolina, they have their tradition up there and just to be able to go up there and play them at their house and have a chance to win it is great."
While winning at Chapel Hill may hold some significance for this Seminole team, a win on Wednesday would be about something much bigger than just one game.
"We have a bigger goal than that," Snaer said. "I will say that it would be a big win for the program but at the same time we know our goals for this year and that is just another stepping stone. It is a part of us making it to where we need to be."
"Basically, I would say it is about trying to get into the tournament," Reid added.