Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 3/11/12
ATLANTA -- Florida State won its first ACC basketball championship Sunday after knocking off North Carolina 85-82 at Philips Arena. The Seminoles were scorching from the field in the first half and didn't cool all that much after halftime. In winning, FSU joins Maryland in 2004 as the only schools to win the ACC title other than Duke and UNC since 1996. In addition, the Seminoles will march into the NCAA Tournament with the league's automatic bid and with a 4-1 record this season versus the Tar Heels and Blue Devils. FSU improved to 24-9 on the season while UNC dropped to 29-5. Here are both teams' grades for their performances Sunday: FSU offense: How else can you describe a team that shoots 62.5 percent from the field in the first half and finishes the game at 58.9 percent other than outstanding? The Seminoles were great. They shredded UNC's defense, which is usually excellent. FSU assisted on 21 of 33 baskets, drained half of its 22 3-point attempts and were even with the mighty Heels scoring 40 points in the paint. Fifteen turnovers led to 22 UNC points, but otherwise, this was as terrific a performance as you will see from the Noles. Grade: A. UNC offense: UNC made just 39.4 percent of its shots, but it grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and had seven more second-chance points than FSU. That said, UNC should have had more. The Heels also converted just 5 of 20 shots from beyond the arc, a weakness that sometimes haunts this team. Credit Harrison Barnes (23 points) for willing some shots through the cylinder and Tyler Zeller (19 points) for producing despite being in difficult circumstances without John Henson available. Grade: C. FSU defense: FSU did an excellent job of not letting Barnes get a look on UNC's final two possessions, and the shots ended up being taken by Kendall Marshall and P.J. Hairston from 30 feet. FSU kept UNC under 40 percent, but the Tar heels still scored 82 points. The Seminoles committee a lot of fouls that sent UNC to the line, but for the most part this was a solid effort against a very good team. Grade: B. UNC defense: Roy Williams sure wondered what happened. In some instances, this was a simple case of guys making shots, but there were too many, especially in the first half, where FSU hit wide open looks. Carolina was not good defensively and clearly missed Henson. No excuses, because it could have defended the perimeter better and stopped FSU from executing so well. Grade: D. FSU intangibles: Leonard Hamilton's team came into the ACC Tournament intent on winning it. It was the team's mission, and they accomplished it. This was a focused, intense, and proud group of mostly veterans who did this. It was a big-boy performance all weekend. Grade: A. UNC intangibles: If anyone doubts UNC's toughness, intensity and pride they need to find something else to do with their time. Carolina is a gritty team that will fight, claw and bite if it has to. UNC got into a major hole, but it fought out despite playing some odd lineups it's not accustomed to putting on the floor. That Carolina had a chance to take the lead with 6 seconds left is a testament to Roy Williams' club. Grade: A.
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