Previewing Georgia Tech

The Tar Heels take their 2-0 ACC record to Atlanta on Sunday night to face Georgia Tech. Tip-off at Alexander Memorial Coliseum is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. and will be televised by Fox Sports Net.

North Carolina (12-4, 2-0) vs. Georgia Tech (7-8, 0-2)
Atlanta, Ga. -- Alexander Memorial Coliseum
7:45pm -- Fox Sports Net (Tim Brando, Mike Gminski)


"Everybody has a guy or two guys that you can count on being there. Iman [Shumpert] and Glen [Rice] are the two guys I look to. Now that we are in ACC play, the consistency level has to be higher. It's not effort. Their effort is outstanding. They have grown tremendously as leaders." – Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt


Season to Date: Georgia Tech enters Sunday's contest with a 7-8 (0-2 ACC) record. There were immediate signs that the Yellow Jackets were going to struggle in '10-11 – for instance, a narrow 71-68 overtime exhibition victory over Division II Clark Atlanta University. Paul Hewitt's club then lost by 17 points to Kennesaw State 10 days later. Tech's best win is likely against Richmond (67-54) on Dec. 18, while losing games to Charlotte (86-83 2OT), Siena (62-57), Syracuse (80-76), Boston College (86-75) and Clemson (87-62), among others. The Yellow Jackets have lost four of their last five.

Big (I)man on Campus: Junior guard Iman Shumpert has emerged as Georgia Tech's most valued component this season, leading the team in four key statistical categories – 15.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game. The Oak Park, Ill. native has ratcheted up his defensive play during his third year in Atlanta, consistently drawing the opposing team's top perimeter threat. The 6-foot-5, 209-pounder's 2.5 steals per game leads the ACC and ranks 14th nationally. Shumpert joins fellow guard Maurice Miller as the elder statesmen for a Yellow Jackets squad that boasts 10 underclassmen on the roster.

Rice Helping Out: Sophomore wing Glen Rice is serving as Shumpert's sidekick in averaging 12.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per outing. The Marietta, Ga. native has stepped up his game even more recently, averaging 16.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game over his last five contests. Rice has struggled with his shot, however, connecting on just 27.5 percent of his 3-pointers (14-of-51) and 63.6 percent of his free throws (28-of-44).

Percentage Pain: It's not hard to explain Georgia Tech's losing record 15 games into the season. The Yellow Jackets are No. 12 in the ACC rankings for all four field goal percentage categories – field goal (41.1), field goal defense (45.2), 3-point field goal (29.0) and 3-point field goal defense (40.7).

Clanking Away From Deep: That 29.0 percent mark from long range looks even worse when you consider that Georgia Tech is launching treys at a ridiculous rate, averaging 20 attempts per game. The Yellow Jackets shot a season-high 31 3-pointers in the overtime win over Charlotte, but give credit where credit is due – Hewitt's club drilled 13 of those treys.

Youth Served in the Post: With Derrick Favors, Gani Lawal and Zack Peacock no longer donning the Georgia Tech uniform, Hewitt has been forced to rely on an all-freshmen rotation in the post. The trio of Daniel Miller (6-11, 258), Kammeon Holsey (6-8, 226) and Nate Hicks (6-10, 218) are collectively averaging 10.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, while knocking down 52.8 percent of their field goal attempts.

Protecting the Basketball: The Yellow Jackets made a habit of coughing up the ball over the previous two seasons, ranking 314th nationally in '08-09 and 318th last season. But experience is delivering dividends in the form of taking care of the basketball this year. Georgia Tech currently stands second in the ACC and 37th nationally with a plus-3.4 turnover margin.

Last Meeting: Georgia Tech overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat North Carolina, 62-58, in the opening round of the ACC Tournament on Mar. 11, 2010, in Greensboro, N.C. Tyler Zeller posted his first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but UNC's starting perimeter players – Marcus Ginyard, Larry Drew and Will Graves – combined to shoot 5-of-29 from the field.

Series History: The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with the Yellow Jackets, 60-23. North Carolina has won 19 of the last 29 meetings, but Georgia Tech swept the regular-season series in '09-10 for the first time since 1996, and the ACC Tournament victory gave the Yellow Jackets three wins over UNC in a season for the first time since 1985.

Projected Starters:
3 Maurice Miller (6-2, 188, Sr.) - 5.7 ppg, 2.6 apg
1 Iman Shumpert (6-5, 212, Jr.) - 15.2 ppg, 3.5 apg, 5.5 rpg
41 Glen Rice (6-5, 206, So.) - 12.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg
24 Kammeon Holsey (6-8, 226, Fr.) - 4.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg
5 Daniel Miller (6-11, 258, Fr.) - 4.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg

Top Reserves:
11 Brian Oliver (6-6, 226, So.) - 11.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg
0 Mfon Udofia (6-2, 193, So.) - 8.7 ppg, 1.4 apg
14 Jason Morris (6-5, 210, Fr.) - 6.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg

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