UNC Basketball: Things To Watch for vs Georgia Tech


The #15 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels are reeling, losers of four of their last five games – so one would think it’s a great time to host Georgia Tech. Carolina will be looking to get back in victory column as well as begin to play some good ball as the season starts to wind down. With that being said, here’s a few thing to watch for during the Heels battle with the Yellow Jackets.

The Carolina D

Early in the season it seemed as if UNC would be a pretty good defensive team but lately they’ve been anything but that. The Tar Heels have struggled mightily on the defensive end including getting carved up by offensively challenged teams like Virginia and Pittsburgh. Carolina hasn’t been able to contain opponents dribble penetration, which in return gives them open looks from three and that is killing the Heels now. Georgia Tech is no offensive juggernaut but if UNC can’t keep get consistent stops this will be a lot closer than it should be. If Carolina decides to guard the Yellow Jackets, it should result in a relatively easy conference W.

Will the Tar Heels play with a sense of urgency?

It seems as if the Carolina faithful has asked this question the entire basketball season and for the most the answer has been a resounding no! Far too often, this team appears to just be going through the motions. In several games this season (especially lately) the Tar Heels have gotten off to slow starts and I for one would attribute that to these guys playing with no sense of urgency. Were less than a month away from Selection Sunday and this squads play of late makes me wonder if they’re aware of that. Bottom line, UNC must beat the Georgia Tech. The Heels can’t allow the struggling Yellow Jackets ( 12-14 overall 3-11 in the conference) to come into Smith Center and get an early double-digit lead,gain confidence and hang around this game. Roy’s boys need to find a killer instinct and squashing the Yellow Jackets would be a good start.

Justin Jackson

I know this guy is just a freshman, but it’s go time and that means it’s time for Justin Jackson to take his game to the next level. With J.P. Tokoto being invisible at times and Marcus Paige having  a down season, Carolina needs little more production from Jackson. The 6’8 freshman is having a decent season (averaging 9.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game) but he hasn’t performed anywhere close to the level many thought he would. And this game presents a good opportunity to begin to change that. For starters, Tech is not a good defensive squad and secondly they don’t have a player in my opinion who can check Jackson. Young Justin should be able to get to his spots on floor and do some damage. If he can produce 15 plus points it should give him a some much-needed confidence and help the Tar Heels to a victory on Saturday.


As of late the Tar Heels have shot the ball pretty well but the turnovers have been killer. Taking care of the ball has been an issue for this team the entire season but over the last few weeks it’s become an even bigger problem. Carolina’s tendency to be careless with the ball has cost them at least a couple of games and if Georgia Tech is able make this a tight game, you better believe that turnovers will be a major part of that. If Carolina can limit the miscues they should have little problems with the Yellow Jackets – however if UNC has 15 or more turnovers this game could become another dog fight and that’s the last thing this squad needs now.