Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
7 p.m., ESPN
"Jarrett [Jack] is probably physically stronger than any point guard in the country. He can take a lot of contact and still get his own shot –- and finish the play. He can also go inside and create contact with the big guys and get the ball to the guys that they were guarding. He can penetrate and dish as well as anybody I have ever seen. He is a load for us. That is where our first defensive emphasis has to be -- doing a decent job on him, which we haven't been able to do very often." -- Roy Williams
"We've got outstanding leadership at the point guard position. Jarrett Jack won't allow any of his teammates to even think about somebody that's hurt or somebody that's not playing at 100 percent. He's talking to these guys on the court and in the locker room about taking care of their responsibilities. When we need to pick up the slack because B.J. is not there or somebody is in foul trouble, Jarrett is right there getting people to understand that because we have enough talent to play well and be successful." -- Paul Hewitt
"We don't alter our game. We're going to go out there and do the best we can. I mean [Schensher]'s seven-foot, he's long; but we're going to play to our advantages, which is our speed and our quickness." -- Jawad Williams
"We are playing pretty well despite a couple of injuries. We've had some freshmen – Ra'sean Dickey and Anthony Morrow, in particular – step up and play very, very well. We're looking forward to playing against North Carolina. They're obviously playing great basketball right now." -- Paul Hewitt
Last Year Vs. UNC: Georgia Tech and North Carolina squared off three times in the 2003-04 season. In January at the Smith Center, strong defense gave the Heels a 20-point first-half lead and a 103-88 win, with Sean May (28 pts, 8 reb) and Raymond Felton (25 pts, 9 ast) leading the way. The following month in Atlanta, B.J. Elder (30 pts) and Rashad McCants (31 pts) went toe-to-toe, each hitting seven three-pointers, but Tech's supporting cast outplayed UNC's for an 88-77 Yellow Jacket win. The rubber match was in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal, and a Jarrett Jack jumper with 1.4 seconds left gave Tech an 83-82 win, despite the Tar Heel trio's efforts (May - 27 pts, McCants - 25 pts, Felton - 20 pts).
Season To Date: Tech has two losses on the season, both road games against high quality opponents (Gonzaga, Kansas). However, they don't have many quality non-conference wins (Michigan was the only one) and have handled their two inferior conference opponents (Miami, Virginia). That's not to say the Jackets haven't been tested, as the overtime loss at Kansas was proof enough that Paul Hewitt's club can play with any team -- anywhere.
Injury Report: The biggest news is the absence of senior wing B.J. Elder (13.2 ppg), who is still recovering from a strained hamstring. Freshman power forward Ra'Sean Dickey (9.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg in two ACC games) is questionable with a knee sprain. Freshman forward Jeremis Smith has been out since late November since suffering a dislocated kneecap.
PG Battle: There's no night off in the ACC this season for point guards. Raymond Felton goes from one matchup of future pros (vs. Maryland's John Gilchrist) to another -- Wednesday night against Jarrett Jack. Jack, a 6-3 junior, is a lethal offensive threat. He may not have the best assist:turnover radio in the league, but none are stronger or more effective getting to the hoop -- not to mention he is hitting 48 percent of his three-point attempts. Jack lit up Kansas for 26 points (10-12 FG) in Lawrence.
No Elder? No Problem: Well, not exactly "no problem." After all, Elder has recorded double-digit scoring outings in all seven career games against UNC. But winning without Elder isn't insurrmountable for the Jackets, as the senior isn't Tech's top long-range threat this season. That honor goes to both Jack (48% 3pt) and freshman Anthony Morrow (47% 3pt), a Charlotte native. Elder is seen as the go-to scorer, but last year's postseason run without Elder helped the team develop other scoring options.
Big Luke: Luke Schenscher, Tech's 7-1 senior center, will go down as one of the most improved players in ACC history. The Australian native's meager production in his first two seasons made him the subject of jokes by Jacket fans and opponents alike, but his sudden turnaround his junior season made him a fan favorite in Atlanta. Schenscher's averages and playing time skyrocketed, as he played an integral role in Tech's run to last season's national title game. Tar Heel fans assuredly remember his 17-point, 17-rebound performance in UNC's 2004 ACC tournament loss.
Projected Starters: 3 Jarrett Jack (6-3, 202, G, Jr.) – 14.8 ppg, 4.7 apg 11 Will Bynum (6-0, 185, G, Sr.) – 11.3 ppg, 3.3 apg 2 Isma'il Muhammad (6-6, 228, F, Sr.) - 9.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg 55 Anthony McHenry (6-7, 222, F, Sr.) – 5.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg 12 Luke Schenscher (7-1, 250, C, Sr.) - 10.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg Key Reserves: 4 Ra'Sean Dickey (6-9, 255, F, Fr.) – 6.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg 23 Anthony Morrow (6-5, 205, G, Fr.) – 6.6 ppg 35 Zam Frederick (6-0, 209, G, Fr.) – 2.4 ppg, 1.1 apg 44 Theodis Tarver (6-9, 245, C, Jr.) – 1.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg 5 Mario West (6-4, 208, G, So.) – 1.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Jack ... McHenry
Bynum ... Muhammad
Schenscher ... Morrow