The North Carolina Tar Heels heads back out on the road to face conference foe Georgia Tech to in yet another very important ACC match up. UNC is on the NCAA Tournament bubble and every game is vital to their post season lives.
The last time the Heels and Jackets faced off in late January Georgia Tech was able to keep things close. UNC went into half time with just an eight point lead but pulled away in the second half and won by 16. Reggie Bullock led the way with 17 points followed by P.J Hairston with 15. Since then the Yellow Jackets have played well going 4-3 with their three losses coming by a combined eight points.
Keys to Victory: Defense is the name of the game for Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets rank 27th in the nation giving up just 59 ppg on average this season. The Tar Heels were able to dictate the pace of the game and get out in transition forcing 19 GT turnovers and dominating the boards. Rebounding is huge this time around as the Jackets have improved immensely in that category since their last two meetings. Since the insertion of P.J. Hairston into the starting lineup the Heels have continued to rebound making it possible for the team to survive with four guards on the floor at once. Tech will have a size advantage inside with 6-8 Robert Carter and 6-11 Daniel Miller who both rebound the ball well.
Georgia Tech struggles to score the ball averaging only 64.1 ppg, they only have one player who averages double figures in scoring but they do have a couple very capable shooters in Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey what they don’t have is three point threats, the challenge here will be matching up inside.
Notable Stats: UNC absolutely dominates GT in all statistical categories from top to bottom. Offensively the Yellow Jackets they rank no higher than 163rd in any category, the Heels outscore the Jackets by an average of 14.4 ppg (78.5-64.1). Neither team is very good at the charity stripe, this is a rare instance in which UNC actually shoots better at the line (65%-63.9%). Combined the Tar Heels and Yellow Jackets are 0-7 vs. Top 25 teams and just 1-11 vs. RPI Top 50.
Series: UNC leads, 62-24
Prediction: The Jackets strong half court defense could stun the Heels a bit and I expect this game to be a bit closer at half time than one might expect looking at the talent differential between these two teams. At the end of the day UNC should run over a team like Georgia Tech who cannot hang with them in the scoring column and do not have the talent to slow down the pace of the game nor the athletes to run with Carolina. UNC 70-GT 56