Alex Conway & John Gwaltney Jr TarHeelIllustrated.com Staff
North Carolina will hit the road and head south to Atlanta to
play Georgia Tech only two days after avenging an earlier loss by
beating the Virginia Cavaliers 93-81 Saturday afternoon.
Beating Virginia is currently the Tar Heels second best win of
the season behind a non-conference win over UNLV. The win
helps push North Carolina back into most people bracket projections
for the NCAA tournament but a loss against Georgia Tech would spell
It's always difficult to win on the road in the ACC, even for
veteran teams like Duke, who lost to Maryland at the Comcast Center
this past weekend. For a young team like UNC a win is anything
but a certainty.
Georgia Tech at a glance
Atlanta, Georgia Nickname: Yellow Jackets; Ramblin' Wreck Colors: Old Gold & White Conference: ACC Arena: McCamish Pavilion (8,600) 2011-2012 Record: 11-20 (4-12) Last Game: W 56-55 vs. Wake Forest on Feb. 16, 2013 in
Winston-Salem Last Game vs. UNC: L 79-63 on Jan. 23, 2013 in Chapel
Hill More on the Yellow Jackets: Schedule
GAME PREVIEW THOUGHTS
Joel James will miss his third straight game after suffering a
concussion against Wake Forest.
James had been a regular in the rotation but since he's departure
to the land of the injured,
Roy Williams has favored a small line up the last couple of
The results are hard to argue with but aren't an indictment on
the progression James had been making before getting injured.
James was beginning to look more comfortable and gave UNC a much
needed big body.
It looks like the small line-up is here to stay.
While many UNC fans are patting themselves on the back for
prognosticating a successful insertion of
P.J. Hairston into the North Carolina starting five, Williams
correctly pointed out in the post-game press conference that the
rebounding effort will be the key to making the switch a full time
"I said, 'Guys. You small guys that like this small lineup, I
cannot do that if I don't have you guys getting to the boards when
James Michael is shooting,'" Williams said. "I think (the
rebounding) is the most crucial part of the game."
He's right. If
James Michael McAdoo is shooting it essentially leaves UNC with
four guards to attack the boards. That comment may have given
UNC fans some insight into why it took Williams a while to feel
comfortable swapping Hairston for
If UNC outrebounds Georgia Tech the way they did Virginia (33-24)
it will put Williams' mind at ease.
Dexter Strickland recorded his second straight double digit
point performance when he tallied 12 points against Virginia.
Strickland's recovery from a devastating knee injury has been
well-documented and it's clear he isn't as explosive as he was
before the injury.
It's also clear he's beginning to remold his game and accepting
that he's healthy again.
"I think it's more mental," said Strickland after the victory
over Virginia. "I'm out there trying to tell myself to trust
in my knee more, just being more aggressive."
If Strickland can give the Tar Heels a consistent scoring output
playing alongside the red-hot Hairston and play with renewed
confidence, it will be a big boost for the team.
North Carolina (17-8, 7-5) vs. Georgia
Date: Tuet, Feb 18,
2013 Time: 9:00 PM EST Venue:McCamish Pavilion (8,600) TV:ESPN3/ACC
Network Radio: Tar Heel Sports
Network & SiriusXM Series: UNC leads, 62-24
(UNC is 18-13 vs. Tech in Atlanta and was 12-12 vs. the Yellow Jackets
Alexander Memorial Coliseum)