In a normal year, coaches like to play one last game outside of the conference after the vacation break. Often times, they schedule it at home against a slightly respected low or mid major in a matchup with little to no tension. Players have an opportunity to break the rust, get back on the rhythm and in some cases remove the calories from a home visit. The coaches have the last chance to edit a few games and lineups before the conference game returns.
There won’t be any easing for Georgia Tech (4-3, 0-1 ACC) as it returns after a longer than expected 10-day hiatus. Their first return leg brings North Carolina (5-3, 0-1 ACC) to the McCamish Pavilion in a matchup of teams looking to avoid 0-2 conference starts. North Carolina will also try to avenge a formidable loss to the Yellow Jackets last year, where Tech took a 27-4 lead, shooting 59 percent on the way to a 96-83 win at Chapel Hill.
Enjoy the top five grades from my chart as you prepare for a New Years Eve showdown in Atlanta (20 S. ). m. EST, Georgia Tech Sports Network from Learfield IMG College):
Georgia Tech has recently downsized its line-up, placing Bubba Parham as the third guard, and ditching a traditional « 5 » man. They also put 6-7 Jordan Usher or 6-7 Khalid Moore on the « 5 » when 6-9 Moses Wright is on the bench.
Conventional wisdom has it that a small formation makes a team more prone to blocked shots. However, in the first three games after the downsizing, Georgia Tech was only blocked once apiece by Kentucky, Nebraska, and Florida State.
Why is it so important? All three teams are in the top 25 nationally in terms of average size. North Carolina ranks eighth.
N. . C.. . State used a smaller line-up against UNC on Jan.. December and succeeded in spreading the tar heels and dribbling. It spurred the wolf pack to a 17 point lead in the first half, which allowed them to withstand multiple rallies in a 79-76 win. It also continued a worrying trend for the tar heels to abandon large early deficits (they left double digits in six of their first eight games in the first half). .
Can the jackets use sharp cuts and quick reversals for a clean look and clear driving lanes against the length of North Carolina? And can they quickly shake off the rust after their vacation and nail down the tar heels with another early deficit?
Jose Alvarado led tech in assists, steals and points in the ACC game last year. He also cited the yellow jackets on most of the friends and family members who saw him play on the street.
The Yellow Jackets seldom played a street game without Alvarado bringing his own enthusiastic cheering section with him. That was the case last year at Chapel Hill when Alvarado ended up with 25 points, 8 assists, and 6 steals for Tech’s first win at the Smith Center since 2010. Among the well-wishers was one of his youth league coaches from New York City, who coached him for the first time in sixth grade.
The only problem: He came to the game with gear from North Carolina. Alvarado said, embarrassed, that his coach was a UNC fan, although he still showed a lot of love for his former player that night.
Alvarado and Michael Devoe will face a newcomer consisting of McDonald’s All-Americans Caleb Love (11) after a career with 29 points against the US state of Delaware. 1 ppg) and R. . J. . Davis (10. 1 ppg). Love is a dynamic finisher on the sidelines trying to get out of a seasonal shooting slump. Like Alvarado, a product of the Catholic basketball of the New York League, Davis was named the best newcomer to the ACC by Lindy. Both worked on the loss of the UNC against N. . C.. . Condition (8-28 FG combined). You’re not the only one having problems: North Carolina only makes 25. 6 percent of his three, which is No.. 316 in the country.
The tech guards have already baffled a young Kentucky backyard, forcing them into sales, tentative decisions, and off-system jumps. Can they do it again against a backcourt in North Carolina that has been scrutinized and possibly looking for a breakout game?
While North Carolina has problems with three, they know how to fix their own mistakes.
Roy Williams again rolls out a forecourt that teams can put in the wood chopper on the attack glass: The tar heels rank no. 2 nationally in offensive rebound percentage (41. 8 pct. ). Garrison Brooks, 6-11, the ACC preseason player of the year, had a career high of 35 points and 11 rebounds against the Yellow Jackets last year. Armando Bacot, 6-10-year-old who has led the UNC in the last three games, can overwhelm defenders with setbacks. The tar heels also turn a pair of newbies off the bench in 6-11 Day’Ron Sharpe, an instinctive shot blocker, and Atlanta-born 7-1 Walker Kessler. Georgia Tech has found a niche with a smaller line-up, and Moses Wright had 22 points and 7 rebounds playing longer distances in the « 5 » last year, but Tech’s forecourt can’t allow UNC to bury them deep or to catch in their comfort zone.
Notable: When the Yellow Jackets took a 47-27 lead at halftime at Chapel Hill last year, they didn’t allow North Carolina to score a single fast break or second chance point. Josh Pastner has been pushing the defensive transition throughout the year and cited it as a key in our pre-game interviews against Kentucky, Florida State and Georgia State. North Carolina is just as actively hunting for baskets in secondary transition as any other team in the ACC, including quick post-ups with its big guys. How well can the yellow jackets restrict North Carolina’s staple foods on Wednesday?
UNC guard R. . J. . Davis won New York Mr.. . Basketball and finished fifth in New York City Catholic League history in career points. His total number is just below another notable New Yorker Mr.. . Basketball winner:
Now that we’re prepared, we hope you are too. Join us from 7:30 p.m. to report before the game. m. ET on the Georgia Tech Sports Network from Learfield IMG College. I’ll see you at McCamish’s.
North Carolina Men’s Basketball Tar Heels, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Men’s Basketball, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Basketball, NCAA Atlantic Coast Conference Football
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