Jan. 28, 2012
ATLANTA – With a much-needed four-day break between games behind it, Georgia Tech resumes its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule Sunday night with a 6 p.m. nationally-televised game against North Carolina at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill.
Sunday’s game, the only scheduled meeting between the two teams this season, can be seen nationally on ESPNU. The Tech radio broadcast can be heard in Atlanta on flagship station 790 the Zone (790 AM) and True Oldies 106.7 FM. The North Carolina broadcast can be heard nationally on Sirius and XM satellite radio (channel 91 on both).
In its first year under head coach Brian Gregory, Tech (8-12, 1-5 ACC) has stumbled to losses in its last four games, and eight of its last nine, winning only at NC State, 82-71, on Jan. 11. The Yellow Jackets dropped a 64-49 decision to Miami in their last outing Tuesday night.
The Tar Heels are the first of two consecutive road games against top-25 opponents Tech has coming up. The Yellow Jackets visit No. 23 Florida State Wednesday.
North Carolina (17-3, 4-1 ACC) has bounced back from a 33-point loss at Florida State on Jan. 14 by beating Virginia Tech and NC State by an average of 16.5 points. The Tar Heels are a half-game back of Duke and the Seminoles, who are tied for first place at 5-1.
Tech is 3-4 in road games this season, while the Tar Heels are undefeated at home (13-0). The Yellow Jackets have won the last four straight meetings against North Carolina, including the teams’ last game in Chapel Hill.
Georgia Tech’s primary goals this season have been to play solid team defense, win the rebounding battle, and be efficient on offense. The Yellow Jackets have allowed only six teams to score as many as 70 points and two to shoot 50 percent from the floor. Tech has a +4.8 edge in rebounding for the season and has won that battle in 13 of 20 games.
The Yellow Jackets rank No. 5 in the ACC (30th nationally) in field goal percentage defense (39.6 pct.) and in scoring defense (62.5 ppg). Tech has held 11 opponents under 40 percent from the field, and have held eight teams under 60 points.
Offensively, the Yellow Jackets have struggled of late, averaging less than 50 points per game while shooting 35.6 percent from the floor during the current losing streak.
North Carolina is the top scoring team in the nation at 84.5 points per game (73.8 ppg, 3rd in ACC games), ranks 5th in scoring margin (17.9 ppg) while hitting 47.7 percent of its field goal tries. The Tar Heels also rank 18th nationally in field goal percentage defense.
Whom to Watch
Two Yellow Jackets are averaging double figures in scoring, led by 6-5 junior Glen Rice, Jr., of Marietta, Ga., who is scoring 13.6 points (11th in the ACC) and grabbing 6.6 rebounds per game (10th). Mfon Udofia, a 6-2 junior from Stone Mountain, Ga., averages 10.8 points per game.
Both players got off to good starts in conference play – Rice has averaged 15.8 ppg while hitting 45.1 percent of his shots from the floor, while Udofia has averaged 12.2 ppg while hitting 47.2 percent. Both have scored in double digits in the same game four times.
6-11 sophomore center Daniel Miller ranks 14th in the ACC in rebounding (6.3 pg) and 3rd in blocked shots (2.5 pg).
6-8 sophomore forward Kammeon Holsey is hitting 61.3 percent of his shots from the floor, but has not taken enough shots to be listed in the ACC rankings.
Three Tar Heels average better than 14 points a game – Harrison Barnes (17.4), John Henson (14.5) and Tyler Zeller (14.4).
Tech-North Carolina History
North Carolina has a 60-24 lead in the all-time series between the two teams, and a 46-22 advantage since Tech joined the ACC.
Tech has won the last four in a row, including a 78-58 win in Atlanta in the teams’ only meeting of 2010-11, and has won 10 of the last 17 meetings with North Carolina dating back to the 2001-02 season.
Tech’s 73-71 win in Chapel Hill in January of 2010 snapped a streak of nine straight losses in the Smith Center. Counting regular-season games in Greensboro, Tech is 5-27 on the road against UNC. The Yellow Jackets are 5-20 in the Smith Center.
The teams have played 35 times in the city of Atlanta, but met only 23 times at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, where the Tar Heels won 12 of 23. Tech won six of the last seven meetings in the Thrillerdome, however, and won six of eight against UNC in the Coliseum under Paul Hewitt.
Between 1982 and 1996, the Yellow Jackets played eight of their home games with the Tar Heels at the old Omni arena in downtown Atlanta (2-6 record). Counting ACC and SIC Tournament games played in the city, Tech is 14-21 vs. North Carolina in Atlanta.
Tech was 10-11 against UNC under Paul Hewitt, 8-3 in games played away from Chapel Hill, including three ACC Tournament wins. The Jackets are 8-6 against the Tar Heels under Roy Williams, 8-7 against Williams all-time. Tech coach Brian Gregory is 1-0 vs. the Tar Heels. His Dayton team defeated North Carolina in the championship game of the 2010 NIT.
In ACC Tournament play, the Yellow Jackets have won five of nine meetings, and Tech has won the last three encounters (2004, 2005, 2010). Two of Tech’s five tournament wins occurred in championship games, the 1985 final in Atlanta and the 1993 final in Charlotte.
Tech’s greatest success in its series with North Carolina occurred during the middle 1990s when the Jackets won five of seven meetings, including three straight wins over No. 1-ranked Tar Heel teams during the 1993 and 1994 campaigns.