With two straight ACC wins under their belt, the Tar Heels host Georgia Tech on Wednesday. Tip-off at the Smith Center is at 9 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.
North Carolina (12-5, 2-2) vs. Georgia Tech (10-6, 0-4)
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Dean E. Smith Center Center
Wednesday, 9 p.m.
ESPN (Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke)
“Obviously there’s a frustration, and as well there should be, but I think our guys understand where we’re at and what we need to do. I think they understand that four or five possessions a game is the difference in wins and losses in this league, and we’ve just got to mature a little bit and understand that that’s how close games are going to be.” – Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory on his team’s 0-4 ACC start
“He’s probably still two weeks away from being able to play.” – Gregory on injured junior wing Jason Morris
Season to Date: Georgia Tech enters Wednesday’s contest with a 10-6 (0-4 ACC) record. Second-year head coach Brian Gregory’s squad ran through a non-descript non-conference schedule – not including losses to California and Illinois before running into a wall once ACC play started. The Yellow Jackets have lost all three of their true road games this season, albeit against ranked opponents – Illinois, Duke and N.C. State.
Inconsistent at the Point: If you look at senior Mfon Udofia’s overall statistics, then you will discover a point guard that has made significant strides from his first year in that role as a junior. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is averaging 9.9 points per game on 45.8 percent shooting and boasts a 1.67:1 assist-turnover. That level of play, however, hasn’t carried over into the conference slate. While Udofia’s points have increased (10.8 ppg), his field goal percentage has dropped to 31.6 percent (12-of-38) and he’s posted as many turnovers (8) as assists in 32.5 minutes per game.
Freshmen Focus: Three freshmen will start for the Yellow Jackets against North Carolina, representing an emphasis on the future of this program. Forwards Marcus Georges-Hunt (10.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and Robert Carter (9.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg) quickly assumed top scoring responsibilities for Gregory’s squad, while guard Chris Bolden took advantage of his first career start at Duke by scoring 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting (4-of-8 on 3s). In ACC play, those three rookies are scoring 48 percent of Georgia Tech’s 60.2 points per game. And they’re not alone – there are currently nine underclassmen on the roster.
Yin and Yang: Georgia Tech has struggled to score the ball this season, while opponents have struggled to score against the Yellow Jackets. Tech ranks 239th nationally (10th ACC) in scoring offense (65.0 ppg), 235th (12th ACC) in field goal percentage (41.9), 268th (12th ACC) in 3-point field goal percentage and 300th (11th ACC) in free throw percentage (64.0). Conversely, the Yellow Jackets rank 23rd nationally (3rd ACC) in scoring defense (58.1 ppg), 12th (3rd ACC) in field goal percentage defense (37.3) and 78th (6th ACC) in 3-point field goal percentage defense (30.9).
Questions Linger: Junior guard Brandon Reed started Georgia Tech’s first 15 games, averaging 5.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-3, 182-pounder didn’t play against Duke, however, leading many to believe that he had suffered an injury. Gregory addressed the situation on Monday, telling reporters “it was just a coaching decision.” While Gregory confirmed that Bolden would once again start in Reed’s place on Wednesday, he did not give any indication as to whether or not Reed would see the court.
Playing his Role: A year after starting all 31 games, junior Kammeon Hosley has embraced his new role coming off the bench to give the Yellow Jackets an energy and scoring burst. The 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 8.7 points in 18.9 minutes per game.
Random Fact of the Day, Part I: No one on Georgia Tech’s roster ranks among the ACC’s top-25 in scoring,
Random Fact of the Day, Part II: The Yellow Jackets have led by at least five points in all 16 games this season.
Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Yellow Jackets, 93-81, on Jan. 29, 2012, at the Smith Center. Harrison Barnes led all scorers with 23 points and Kendall Marshall added 12 assists against just one turnover. UNC connected on a season-best 62.5 percent of its 3-pointers (10-of-16), making eight of 10 in the first half.
Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Georgia Tech, 61-24. UNC holds a 21-4 advantage in games played at the Smith Center.
0 Mfon Udofia (6-2, 195, Sr.) – 9.9 ppg, 3.1 apg
11 Chris Bolden (6-3, 209, Fr.) – 5.9 ppg, 1.3 apg
3 Marcus Georges-Hunt (6-5, 218, Fr.) – 10.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg
4 Robert Carter (6-8, 245, Fr.) – 9.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg
5 Daniel Miller (6-11, 257, Jr.) – 7.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.4 bpg
24 Kammeon Holsey (6-8, 231, Jr.) – 6.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg
23 Brandon Reed (6-3, 182, Jr.) – 5.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg
45 Solomon Poole (6-0, 180, Fr.) – 5.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg