Jan. 22, 2013
THE FLATS – Making its third trip to the North Carolina Triangle in the month of January, Georgia Tech treks to Chapel Hill, N.C. to play North Carolina in a 9 p.m. nationally televised contest Wednesday night at the Dean Smith Center. It is the first of two meetings this season against the Tar Heels, who come to McCamish Pavilion on Feb. 19.
Tech (10-6, 0-4 ACC) has dropped its first four ACC games, most recently a 73-57 defeat at third-ranked Duke last Thursday, and sit 0-4 in conference play for the first time since the 2008-09 team began the season 0-6. The Yellow Jackets, who have three of their next four games at home, still have their best 16-game start since the 2009-10 season.
Four of Tech’s losses have come against teams currently ranked 31st (Illinois), fourth (Miami), 13th (NC State) and first (Duke) in the CBS Sports RPI ranking. North Carolina is ranked 34th.
Wednesday’s game can be heard over the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network (790 AM, 106.7 FM in Atlanta), as well as satellite radio (Sirius Ch. 93, XM Ch. 190). The game will be nationally televised on ESPN and on the WatchESPN application.
North Carolina (12-5, 2-2 ACC) has rallied from an 0-2 start in conference play to capture a road victory at defending ACC Champion Florida State and a homecourt victory Saturday against Maryland to even its slate. The Tar Heels began the season ranked 11th in the Associated Press writers’ poll and were picked to finish third in the ACC.
The Yellow Jackets are making their second straight trip in the series to the Smith Center, where North Carolina took a 93-81 victory last Jan. 29. Tech returns home Saturday to face Wake Forest and also will host Virginia and Florida State over the next 12 days.
Georgia Tech has played just three true road games this season, all against teams ranked in the AP top 25 – a 75-62 loss to No. 22 Illinois on Nov. 28, an 83-70 loss to No. 20 NC State on Jan. 29 and last Thursday’s 73-57 loss at No. 3 Duke.
Tech had won four straight games against North Carolina before last year’s 93-81 loss at Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels were ranked No. 7 at the time, the only time UNC has been in the top 25 over the last four times the teams have met. Over the duration of the series (85 games), North Carolina has not been in the top 25 for 13 of those meetings.
Tech began its first season in McCamish Pavilion with eight straight wins before dropping its first two ACC games at home against Miami and Virginia Tech.
A win for Georgia Tech against Duke would give the Yellow Jackets 11 wins for the season, matching last year’s total.
Tech has its best 16-game start since the 2009-10 season, in which the Yellow Jackets won seven in a row on their way to an 12-4 start. Tech had won six straight before a Jan. 5 loss to Miami.
Tech is 8-2 at home in its first season in McCamish Pavilion and has averaged 7,186 in attendance with two sellouts.
Five of Tech’s six losses have come by double digits, the 70-65 overtime loss to Virginia Tech being the exception. Seven of the Yellow Jackets 10 victories have been by double digits, the closest game being a 73-66 win over UNC Wilmington.
NC State is the only team to reach 80 points (83) against the Yellow Jackets and the only team to shoot 50 percent (50.9) from the floor.
Tech remains in the nation’s top 30 in scoring defense (26th) and field goal percentage defense (13th), and ranks third in the ACC in both categories.
Tech’s losses have come to teams with a combined record of 77-25 (as of Jan. 20), and only two of those were at home.
Tech made its first significant lineup change of the season at Duke when freshman Chris Bolden started in place of Brandon Reed, who had started the first 15 games. It was the first time since Dec. 20 (Florida State) and 22 (Kennesaw State) that three freshman had started a game for the Yellow Jackets (Derrick Favors, Brian Oliver, Mfon Udofia).
Tech’s lineup for 14 of the first 15 games had been Mfon Udofia and Brandon Reed at the guards, Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter, Jr., at the forwards and Daniel Miller at center. Jason Morris started in place of Georges-Hunt against California.
Tech played significant stretches of the first and second halves of last Thursday’s game with four freshmen on the floor when Solomon Poole subbed in for Mfon Udofia. Tech also played stretches of the game with both Poole and Udofia on the floor at the same time.
Tech’s top two scorers for the season currently are both freshmen – Marcus Georges-Hunt (10.7 ppg) and Robert Carter, Jr. (9.9 ppg). They rank No. 3 and 5, however, on the Tech chart for ACC games only, and Chris Bolden is tied with Mfon Udofia for the team lead (10.8 ppg).
Series Notes vs. North Carolina
North Carolina has a 61-24 lead in the all-time series between the two teams, and a 47-22 advantage since Tech joined the ACC.
Tech had won four games in a row in the series before North Carolina captured a 93-81 win in Chapel Hill on Jan. 29, the teams’ only regular season meeting of 2011-12. Tech has won 10 of the last 18 meetings with North Carolina dating back to the 2001-02 season.
Tech has lost eight of the last nine meetings in the Smith Center and is 4-21 all-time in the building. Counting regular-season games in Greensboro, Tech is 5-28 on the road against UNC.
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 is 8-3 in games played away from Chapel Hill since 2000-01, including three ACC Tournament wins. The Jackets are 8-7 against the Tar Heels under Roy Williams, 8-8 against Williams all-time. Brian Gregory is 1-2 as a head coach against North Carolina.
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.