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January 28, 2014

UNC-GT Preview

Basketball Preview

UNC will try to get a winning streak as they head to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech on their home court. The Tar Heels are coming off a blowout win over Clemson that extended a historic win streak and it was the type of victory that let everyone know they still have the ability to compete in the ACC.

Maybe not at the elite level, but in all honesty, other than Syracuse, there might not be an elite team in the ACC right now and who else has beaten the types of teams UNC has?

The Tar Heels will find a Yellow Jacket team that is actually a half game behind them in the conference standings. They're coming off an overtime loss to N.C. State and will be hungry to get a big name victory to add to their resume.

Let's take a look at some of the storylines heading into Wednesday's game.

Frontcourt Improvement

Score one for the big guys.

James Michael McAdoo had maybe his best game of the year when he went for 22 points and 7 rebounds against Clemson. He shot 9-of-13 from the field and hauled in three offensive rebounds. Kennedy Meeks got a rare start, although his performance might get him the line-up more often if he can keep putting up 11 points and 8 rebounds on a consistent basis.

UNC has actually done a decent job in the rebounding department but hasn't finished the plays around the basket to make the offensive rebounds worth their effort. Roy Williams talked about McAdoo's efficiency improvements and what he expects him to do better on his radio show Monday night.

"He's becoming more efficient. James Michael always rushes things and I think that he's settled down a little bit there. We talked to him about shot selection because a guy in his position at 6-8 is supposed to shoot a great percentage because you're going to get some dunks too, which he does. He's shot a much better percentage and has handled the ball effectively," said Williams. "He really has been very efficient except for at the free throw line and I'm just that guy that keeps thinking they're going to start going in even more because his free throw percentage in conference play is about as bad as I've ever seen. But he's still really played well."

Brice Johnson came off the bench and gave the Heels some energy but his scoring wasn't there like it usually is (3 points) but if the trio of McAdoo, Meeks and Johnson can give the effort we now know their capable of then Williams might have a formula for success going forward. He went small last year but going big is definitely how they'll win this year.

Effort

This team has been consistently inconsistent especially in the effort department. When UNC goes hard they are a tough out but they really only give a maximum effort when nobody expects them too.

Right around the time that most people thought Clemson might finally get a win in Chapel Hill is right around the time UNC's players were able to get themselves going. The result left many players feeling great and wanting to do it again.

"It's a positive feeling around the locker room right now," said Marcus Paige. "Why wouldn't you want to do that every game instead of having a letup?"

Williams keeps saying that he doesn't feel like he should have to coach effort but clearly when he gets them motivated, whether it's through calling them out in post-game press conferences or forcing them to have 5 a.m. practices, when he gets them going they respond with games like they had against Clemson.

The problem is, we have no idea how they'll look on the road against a supposedly inferior team.

Kennedy Meeks

Speaking of motivation and effort…

Williams shared an interesting moment on his radio show Monday night from earlier in the year. The story shed some light on how he's gotten his freshman big man from Charlotte to give a little more out on the court.

"He's done some good things. I think I'll go back to the Boston College game. In fact, I got mad at James Michael because they're driving us to the basket and we're fouling them on the other end and then we're getting the ball in the post and everybody's shooting turnaround fadeaways and avoiding the contact," said Williams. "I took James Michael out and put Kennedy in the and well I threatened him.

I was trying to think of a nice way to say it, I told him he got the ball and didn't take it to the basket, I didn't says I was going to kill him or anything like that, but if you get the ball and you don't take the ball to the basket then just come over here and sit down."

Williams believes that if he can get the most out of Meeks then Meeks can give the Tar Heels their best chance to become a versatile and difficult team to deal with.

"He's shot a good percentage in the last three games. He's gotten better defensively. I think he's worked harder. He was really one of the bright spots up in Charlottesville and as I've said he's probably one of the best passing big men I've ever coached," said Williams. "Rebounding the ball and giving us a challenge for the other team to defend inside. Last year we went through the whole season basically not having any inside scoring. Kennedy gives us that."

Georgia Tech
(11-9, 2-5)
vs.
North Carolina
(12-7, 2-4)

Game Day
Date:
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Venue: Hank McCamish Pavilion (8,600)
TV: ESPN2

Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network & SiriusXM (Sirius 93/XM 191)
Series: UNC leads 63-24
Last Meeting: UNC won 70-58 on February 19, 2013, in Atlanta.

2013-2014 ACC Standings

Georgia Tech at a glance
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Nickname: Yellow Jackets
Colors: Old Gold & White
Conference: ACC
Arena: McCamish Pavilion (8,600)
2012-2013 Record: 16-15 (6-12)
Last Game: Georgia Tech lost 80-78 OT to N.C. State in Raleigh on Sunday.
More on the Yellow Jackets:
Schedule | Stats | Roster
Official Site | Rivals Site

Last starting line-up
(against N.C. State)


F - Kammeon Holsey
C - Daniel Miller
G - Tre Golden
G - Marcus Georges-Hunt

G - Corey Heyward

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Tre Golden (14.3 PPG) Marcus Georges-Hunt (11.8 PPG)

Rebounding: Robert Carter, Jr. (9.7 RPG) Daniel Miller (8.0 RPG)

Assists: Tre Golden (3.4 APG) Travis Jorgenson (2.5 APG)

Team Statistics
Points Per Game:
69.5
Rebounds Per Game: 37.4
Assist Per Game: 13.9
Field Goal Percentage: .439
3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .305

North Carolina at a glance
Last starting line-up
(against Clemson)

F - James Michael McAdoo
F - J.P. Tokoto
F - Kennedy Meeks
G - Leslie McDonald

G - Marcus Paige

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Marcus Paige (16.7 PPG) James Michael McAdoo (14.8 PPG)

Rebounding: James Michael McAdoo (6.5 RPG) Brice Johnson (6.4 RPG)

Assists: Marcus Paige (4.2 APG) J.P. Tokoto (2.7 APG)

Team Statistics
P
oints Per Game: 75.4
Rebounds Per Game: 40.6
Assist Per Game: 15.6
Field Goal Percentage: .458
3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .316

Game Notes: GT | UNC

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