The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (12-14, 3-11 ACC) have had a very interesting week. They got a win over the Clemson Tiger 63-52 in McCamish Pavilion, but went into the game without Chris Bolden who was suspended for that game, and as it turns out the next five games as he serves a six game suspension.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
All of this is going on leading into the weekend where the Yellow Jackets are taking a road trip to face a motivated and hungry No. 15 North Carolina Tar Heels (18-8, 8-5 ACC) team that has dropped their last two games.
The Tar Heels have been on their own emotional roller coaster after news of Tar Heels’ legendary coach Dean Smith’s passing broke last week.
UNC has since dropped back-t0-back road tilts to Pittsburgh 89-76, and in their rivalry game with the Duke Blue Devils 92-90 in overtime.
This is going to be the first home game that UNC will have played since the passing of Dean Smith, and they are coming to the court with all sorts of motivation for an outstanding performance in Chapel Hill.
Roy Williams has one of the top point guards in the nation running his show in 6-foot-1 junior Marcus Paige.
Paige comes into this game leading UNC in scoring with 13.6 points and 4.2 assists on the year.
The Tar Heels also have arguably the best frontcourt tandem in nation with Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks.
Junior 6-foot-9 forward Brice Johnson is having his best season of his collegiate career dropping 12.7 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 57.7% from the field.
Sophomore forward Kennedy Meeks is the banger for UNC at 6-foot-9 270 pounds. He too averages 12.7 points while grabbing 7.6 rebounds and shooting 58.7% from the floor.
The Tar Heels are third in the ACC and 12th in the nation in team scoring at 79.7 points per contest. UNC is also the rebounding leaders of the ACC at 46.6 boards per game.
UNC plays the way that Georgia Tech wants to play, defend, own the boards, get easy buckets on the break.
This game is going to comedown to who owns the painted area, and who is taking care of the basketball. It is going to be up to Charles Mitchell, Robert Sampson and Demarco Cox to make sure they put in work on the glass.
Charles Mitchell in an interview on the You Tube Georgia Tech Athletic Channel spoke on what he is going to need to do against the Tar Heels as well as what he does in particular to bang the offensive and defensive glass.
Josh Heath is coming off his best game of the season with a career high 14 points on 4 of 5 from the floor to go along with three assists and three steals.
Down the stretch if Tech can get more contributions out of Heath like Monday’s, Tech could be on their way to playing their best basketball going into the ACC Tournament.
Jan 28, 2015; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets guard Josh Heath (11) dribbles the ball against Miami Hurricanes during the first half at BankUnited Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Yellow Jackets need more strong performances out of Heath as they close out the regular season.
Heath as well as Travis Jorgenson are going to need to be on their “A” game against Marcus Paige, and as a whole the Yellow Jackets are going to need to take care of business with their perimeter defense.
Tech offensively has improved dramatically in the last seven games because they have been able to get out in transition a little bit more off of their defense.
The Jackets are averaging 66.9 points per contest on 43.3% shooting and have assisted on 89 of their last 176 field goals.
Brian Gregory elaborated on the importance of his team playing strong on the perimeter as well as making sure to battle inside against the Tar Heels bigs in his pregame interview on the Georgia Tech Athletic You Tube Channel.
The Jackets will be facing North Carolina twice in 11 days. After this meeting the Jackets and Heels will hook up on March 3rd to close out the ACC Regular Season.
Historically, UNC owns Georgia Tech with a 64-24 all-time record, and 50-22 record against the Jackets in ACC play.
The Tar Heels have won the last four matchups against the Yellow Jackets, however Tech is 10-11 against UNC since 2001-02.
This game can be seen on ACC Network and ESPN3 at Noon EST. It can also be heard on local Atlanta Radio on 680 AM and 93.7 FM as well as satellite radio Sirius 91 and XM 91.