Preview: Georgia Tech

The story on Tech is it’s rebuilding. There’s no more Derrick Favors, Gani Lawal or Zach Peacock from last year’s squad that beat the Heels three times and made the NCAA tourney. It doesn’t appear the Jackets are on the right track for the tourney this year after after losing by 25 to an unheralded Clemson team on the road in their last outing.

The stats say that Carolina should win this game fairly easily, but the stats said that about Virginia as well. Any road game in the ACC can be tough, and the Jackets are trying to end a three-game losing streak. The Heels have proven they can play tough on the road, but this could be a close one

  • There were several notable departures from last year’s team, but guard Iman Shumpert (right) is still in Atlanta. He leads the team in points and rebounding at 15.2 and 5.5 respectively. He also leads the ACC in steals. Shumpert scored 30 in Chapel Hill last year to help Tech pull off the 2-point win and that game may have been when the wheels seemingly fell off for the Tar Heels, who at the time were ranked 12th. Carolina should focus specific attention on Shumpert and make the other, inexperienced players attempt to beat them. Carolina recruited Shumpert, and he chose Tech over UNC, so the Heels should take it personally.
  • Ga. Tech doesn’t defend the jump shot very well. It has the worst defense in the ACC in terms of FG percentage and 3FG percentage allowed. That doesn’t mean the Jackets are a pushoever, however, as the team averages the most steals per game in the conference (9.8) and is second to Duke in turnover margin (+3.4).
  • The Jackets might be able to take care of the ball, as referenced by the stat above, but they just aren’t good at scoring it. Tech is last in the conference in FG and 3FG percentage at 41 percent and 29 percent respectively. Yes, there is a team that shoots the three worse than Carolina.
  • Two of Tech’s three leading rebounders are guards, Shumpert and Glen Rice, Jr. The other is 6’11” center Daniel Miller. All three only average about five boards a game. The Heels should look to exploit what might be the only team in conference that has a front court as shallow as UNC’s. The Jackets suit up three players 6’8″ or taller. Here is Ga. Tech weekly crib notes.

The Heels are far more talented that this year’s edition of the Yellow Jackets, but have been susceptible to turning the ball over all season, something at which Tech excels. Carolina should establish the post early with Henson and Zeller, which should hopefully open up the jump shooters to take advantage of Tech’s ineffective D. In the end, Carolina should be able to roll in ATL and take revenge from last year’s sweep.

Prediciton: UNC 77, Ga. Tech 62