The Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket’s will look to start their in-conference schedule off with a bang on Saturday afternoon as they take on 9th ranked North Carolina.
Last Time Out:
Last time out for Georgia Tech was on Wednesday night when the Yellow Jackets took on a struggling North Carolina A&T team. Despite A&T’s dismal 1-11 record coming into the game on Wednesday, the Yellow Jackets struggled and only pulled out a seven point victory.
For Tech, it was a full team effort on Wednesday despite their struggles. Juniors Ben Lammers and Tadric Jackson both had 12 points. Senior forward Kellen McCormick also came off the bench and was able to put up 12 points of his own. Senior forward Quinton Stephens was the big man on the boards, bringing down nine boards with Lammers not that far behind with six rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets continued their struggles when it came to shooting from the field and making free throws. On 48 field goal attempts, only 19 shots were made, a 39.6% field goal percentage, about five percent below their average. On the charity stripe, 15 of 24 shots were made, not exactly what you hope to see out of team made up of mostly experienced players.
The one place that the Yellow Jackets did have success in on Wednesday ad made the big difference was in their three-point shooting where they shot 40% from three compared to A&T’s 17.6% from behind the arch.
Know the Opponent:
North Carolina enters Saturday’s game as the ninth ranked team in the nation with a 12-2 record. The Tar Heels have looked outright dominant at times this season against lesser opponents, including recent 102-74 and 85-42 wins over Monmouth and Northern Iowa.
The Tar Heels will enter Saturday with the ninth ranked scoring offense in all of basketball, averaging 89.6 point per game and have team shooting percentage of 48.6% from the field, 70.9% from the line, and 37.6% from behind the arch.
Offensively, the Tar Heels are led by junior forward Justin Jackson who has a had a phenomenal season thus far averaging 17.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 3.0 apg in about 30 minutes of work per night. Like the rest of the Tar Heels, Jackson is a shooter who will make teams pay if he’s left wide open, as he enters Saturday with a .480% shooting percentage.
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While Jackson may be the star for the Tar Heels, it’s their overall scoring talent especially in their starters that can strike fear into any opponent. Entering Saturday, four Tar Heels are averaging double digits in points, their combined shooting percentage are 52.6% from the field and 77.3% from the line.
North Carolina isn’t as strong defensively as in years past, giving up about 67 points per game. However, the one place they won’t be bullied around at, is on the boards. So far this season, the Tar Heels are averaging 45 rebounds per game, good enough for 2nd in the nation.
You can get a closer look at North Carolina in the video at the top of the page.
- Points: F Justin Jackson – 17.5
- Rebs: F Kennedy Meeks – 9.2
- Assists: G Joel Berry II – 4.8
Players to Watch:
- Georgia Tech: F Kellen McCormick
While it’s hard to say how many minutes McCormick will get on Saturday, it’s pretty easy to think that he will see about ten minutes, especially with the success he had from behind the arch on Wednesday.
A big reason McCormick may see more playing time going forward his success from behind the arch, albeit a small sample size so far this season. So far this season, all 15 points that McCormick has put up have been from three (5-for-6). That being said, last season, McCormick had similar success shooting 45% from three-point range, if head coach Josh Pastner can work McCormick more into the lineup, the Yellow Jackets could have a legitimate and consistent three-point shooter at their disposal.
Meeks has averaged 15.6 points per game over his last three contests, including a 17-point effort last time out against Monmouth. He also brought down a season 12 boards on Wednesday, for his fourth double-double of the season.
With Justin Jackson and Joel Berry both not having usual games the last time out, Meeks is the hottest hand for North Carolina. That being said, Justin Jackson is as a good bet as any to put up anywhere from 20-30 points tonight.
Overall, the Tar Heels are one of the most gifted teams when it comes to pure talent in the nation. With Georgia Tech’s offensive woes this season, North Carolina is a team that will make a team pay for not taking advantage of opportunities. While the Yellow Jackets may play North Carolina close for a half or so, the Tar Heels advantage talent wise will show in the second half as depth becomes more important.