Feb. 20, 2015
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech begins its final Saturday-Monday weekend by visiting 15th-ranked North Carolina at 12 noon Saturday at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Tech, 12-14 overall and 3-11 in the ACC in its fourth season under head coach Brian Gregory, heads to Chapel Hill with some momentum after handling Clemson, 63-52, Monday night at McCamish Pavilion. The Yellow Jackets are 3-4 over their last seven games, including a road win at No. 23 Miami, after an 0-7 start to the conference schedule.
North Carolina is 18-8 overall and 8-5 in the ACC following its 92-90 overtime loss to Duke Wednesday night in Durham. The Tar Heels, in their 12th season under head coach Roy Williams, began conference play 7-1 but have lost four of their last five games entering Saturday’s contest. They are 9-3 at home this season, 4-2 in ACC games.
Saturday’s game will be televised regionally on the ACC Network (WATL-TV in Atlanta) and will be streamed live on ESPN3. The Georgia Tech IMG Radio Network, with flagship station WCNN (680 AM/93.7 FM) will also carry the game. Tech’s radio coverage can be heard on satellite radio nationally (Sirius Ch. 91, XM Ch. 91).
Following Saturday’s game, Tech turns around quickly to face 12th-ranked Louisville at 7 p.m. Monday night at McCamish Pavilion.
STARTING FIVE (PLUS TWO) FOR SATURDAY’S GAME
Saturday’s game at North Carolina is the first of two meetings against the Tar Heels in an 11-day span. That is the shortest period of time between games against the same opponent in Tech’s ACC history. In January, the Yellow Jackets played Notre Dame twice in a 12-day span, and are playing Clemson twice in a 13-day period this month.
Tech’s remaining regular-season schedule includes three games against teams ranked in the AP and coaches’ top 20 and a road game at Clemson. The Jackets have already played five games against top-25 teams and are 1-4 in those games.
Tech’s strength of schedule is ranked No. 22 in ESPN’s RPI rankings, and its non-conference strength of schedule is ranked No. 61.
Tech ranks 13th nationally in rebound margin (+7.9), 12th in offensive rebounds per game (14.1). Only North Carolina ranks ahead of Tech in offensive rebounds in the ACC, and the Tar Heels and Virginia lead Tech in rebound margin.
Tech has defeated its three conference opponents by a total of 45 points, all in double digits and all wire-to-wire. However, 10 of its 11 conference losses have come by a total of 38 points (Virginia the exception, by 29). Tech has lost twice by one point, twice by two points, once by three, once by four, once by five, once by six and twice by seven. Two of those losses went to overtime.
Tech ranks No. 29 in the nation in the adjusted defensive efficiency rating by Ken Pomeroy.
Tech has a minus-0.70 “Luck” rating, KenPom.com’s measure of a team’s number of close games and its success in them. The Jackets rank No. 320 in that category, or to look at it another way, the 36th unluckiest team in the country.
SERIES NOTES VS. NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina has a 64-24 lead in the all-time series between the two teams, and a 50-22 advantage since Tech joined the ACC.
North Carolina has won the last four meetings in the series, including a 78-65 decision on January 29, 2014, the only regular-season meeting between the two teams in 2013-14.
Before that, Tech had won four games in a row for its longest winning streak in the series. Tech is 10-11 against North Carolina dating back to the 2001-02 season.
The teams have played 37 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 is 8-4 in games played away from Chapel Hill since 2000-01, including three ACC Tournament wins. The Jackets are 8-9 against the Tar Heels under Roy Williams, 8-10 against Williams all-time. Brian Gregory is 1-4 as a head coach against North Carolina, having beaten the Tar Heels in the 2010 NIT Championship while head coach at Dayton.
Tech has lost nine of the last 10 meetings in the Smith Center and is 4-22 all-time in the building. Counting regular-season games in Greensboro, Tech is 5-29 on the road against UNC.
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.
TECH OFFENSE MORE EFFICIENT
Georgia Tech scored 63 points against a Clemson team that had been allowing 60 points a game (3rd-best in the ACC) and 58.5 points to ACC teams (2nd to Virginia).
Tech shot 46.3 percent from the floor, its fourth-best effort this season, against a Clemson team that has allowed 38.8 percent to all opponents (3rd in the ACC) and a conference-low 38.5 percent to ACC opponents.
Those numbers against a quality defense were indicative of a more efficient offense for the Jackets over the seven games since their Jan. 22 loss at Virginia. In fact, Tech’s offensive production has increased nearly 10 points per 100 possessions.
In the last seven games, Tech has averaged 66.9 points, shot 43.3 percent from the floor and 34 percent from three-point range, and compiled 89 assists (on 176 field goals) to 84 turnovers. Compare that to 37.1 percent from the floor and 30.2 percent on threes with 74 assists and 88 turnovers in the Jackets’ first seven ACC games.
Tech also has improved its transition game and its ability to capitalize on turnovers.
ACC Games FG% 3P% A/TO *PPP P/TO FB Last 7 43.3 34.0 89/84 101.6 14.1 13.0 First 7 37.1 30.2 74/88 92.8 9.1 4.0 *Points per 100 possessions, points off turnovers and fast-break points
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its fourth year under head coach Brian Gregory. The Yellow Jackets have been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBK).