But that "Four Corners" opening - with coach Roy Williams holding up four fingers to signal Smith's famed offense - led to Brice Johnson's layup in a sign of how smoothly things would run.
Kennedy Meeks scored 18 points for the Tar Heels, who shot 62 percent to earn an easy - and desperately needed - win after a tough stretch that had kept them away from home for nearly three weeks.
UNC led by 14 at halftime, then used a 21-3 spurt to turn this one into a rout against the Yellow Jackets (12-15, 3-12).
Smith was known for using the Four Corners to spread the floor and work the clock, which ultimately helped lead to the implementation of a shot clock in college basketball.
The Hall of Famer, who retired in 1997 as the winningest coach in men's Division I history with 879 wins, died two weeks ago, but this was UNC's first home game since his death. There was a pregame moment of silence for Smith and the school has scheduled a public memorial for him Sunday in the campus arena bearing his name.
From the opening basket, UNC scored almost at will and showed no apparent aftereffects from the Duke loss.
The Tar Heels had six players score in double figures, while Marcus Paige bounced back after struggling mightily against the Blue Devils. The preseason all-American finished with 13 points and matched his career high with 10 assists to earn his first career double-double. He also had no turnovers in 31 minutes.
Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 15 to lead the Yellow Jackets, who shot just 38 percent.
Georgia Tech: All but one of its ACC losses had come by seven or fewer points before Saturday. ... Quinton Stephens scored 10 points.
UNC: Johnson had 16 points. ... UNC hadn't played at home since losing to No. 2 Virginia on Feb. 2. ... UNC didn't have freshman reserve guard Joel Berry II due to a stomach illness.
UNC hosts rival North Carolina State on Tuesday.