Updated: Jan 5, 2020
ACC play starts in full affect Saturday night in the Dean Dome, as Carolina will host Georgia Tech in the first game of 2020. The last time we saw Carolina was on Monday, a 70-67 win over s scrappy Yale team. Brandon Robinson had a career game, scoring 20 points while connecting on 5 three pointers. The win gave Roy Williams 879, which tied him with his mentor Dean Smith. That sets Williams' up to pass his former mentor, at home as the Tar Heels first three games in 2020 are all in Chapel Hill.
Georgia Tech hasn't had the season they wanted to have, as they enter with a underwhelming 6-7 record. Their season was basically over in a sense as they were banned from postseason play in 2020. Michael DeVoe leads the team in scoring, averaging 17.9 points a game. DeVoe is a scrappy guard who's been around this league for some time. He's a lethal shooter from deep, shooting the three ball at a 46% clip. Moses Wright will be the guy that cuases issues on the interior for the Yellow Jackets. Wright scores over 12 points a game, and brings down 8 rebounds as well. Like Carolina, Georgia Tech has problems putting the ball into the basket. They average only 65.4 points which is 316th in the country, all while shooting only 43% from the field. and a even worse 28% from behind the arc.
Georgia Tech isn't one of the better teams in this conference, but they are more than capable of beating the Tar Heels/ Against Yale you saw glimpses of how good this team can be on both ends of the floor, but you also saw them struggle at the little things that frustrate the coaches It appears that Anthony Harris won't be available for this game, as the freshman suffered a knee injury on Monday night. The depth of this team will be testes once again, as they try ti improve to 2-1 in the ACC. 3 things to watch in the first game of the new year:
1. Carolina's Offense vs. Georgia Tech's Zone: This team has struggled mightily in the half-court all season long. A lot of that has to do with so many new faces that haven't meshed together just yet, and some of it is simply the inability to make shots. This game provides a different challenge, as, they'll see zone almost exclusively over the course of 40 minutes. Carolina has seen some zone this season, but not to the extent Georgia Tech will play in the game. How does Carolina move the ball? Can they make the shots that the zone will allow you to take? If Carolina can find some offensive success, they'll have a great to chance to win the game, but we've seen this offense bog down against inferior competition, so this will be a great test for a team still trying to find its way.
2. Can Robinson & Pierce Build Off Monday?: Both players had arguably their best game of the season, and it came a good time. Both guys helped Roy Williams tie Dean Smith, but also in the process built up some confidence heading into ACC play. Carolina needs both of these guys to be more consistent when it comes to scoring the basketball. Robinson needs to improve his shot selection and decision making. As for Pierce he needs to speed up his thought process. When he knows what he's going to do, he looks like a competent player at this level, too many times he doesn't know what he wants to do with the ball, and it leads to a bad shot or a turnover. If this team is going to be one that's going to compete with the likes of Duke, Louisville or Virginia, they'll need consistent play from these two starting against Georgia Tech.
3. Rebounds: The zone can be used as a good way to neutralize a team that lives off rebounding the ball. Historically Carolina has rebounded well against teams that primarily play a zone defense, because the emphasis put on that aspect of the game. A big reason as to why Carolina has won their last two games, has been because of timely offensive rebounds that lead to second chance points. It's a good source of offense for a team that needs all the help in can get when it comes to scoring the basketball. The problem has been that it hasn't been as automatic as in years past. If Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot can get to the backboards on both ends, you figure Carolina has a chance to walk out with a win, if not it'll allow a Georgia Tech team, that has nothing to play for a chance to earn a win in the Smith Center, to salvage a lost season.
Series History: Carolina leads the all time series 67-25. The last time these two teams, the Tar Heels won decisively in Atlanta 77-54.
UNC - 45th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency ( 105.2 ) 71st. Adjusted Defensive Efficiency ( 90.8 ) 37th
Georgia Tech - 94th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency ( 96.7 ) 251st. Adjusted Defensive Efficiency ( 89.8 ) 29th
TV Info: The ACC Network has covergae of this game, with a tip time scheduled for 6 pm.