Tuesday April 23rd, 2024 9:51AM

NCAAMB: Tech looking to break losing skid against No. 3 UNC

By AccessWDUN Staff

ATLANTA — Georgia Tech hopes to snap a three-game skid against No. 3 North Carolina on Tuesday at McCamish Pavilion.

The Jackets will play host to the Atlantic Coast Conference's first-place team in hopes of getting back on track. But it'll be a big task for the struggling team.

The Yellow Jackets (9-11, 2-7 ACC) have lost seven of their last eight conference games, five of those by single digits. The Yellow Jackets’ only win in that stretch came at Clemson (93-90 in overtime), and they try to bounce back after a 91-67 loss at Virginia Tech Saturday night.

North Carolina (17-3, 9-0 ACC) is off to its best start in ACC play since the 2000-01 season. Since back-to-back losses to top-5 teams Connecticut and Kentucky in mid-December, the Tar Heels have ripped off 10 straight victories, including a 75-68 decision at Florida State Saturday.

Tuesday’s game will be televised live on ESPN with a live stream available on the ESPN app. Radio coverage is on the Georgia Tech Sports Network by Legends Sports and flagship station 680 the Fan (680 AM/93.7 FM). The Tech broadcast is also available on SiriusXM channel 371 and the SiriusXM app.

THE TIP-OFF

• At No. 3, North Carolina is the highest-ranked team Georgia Tech has faced since meeting No. 2 Duke on Jan. 4, 2022. The Tar Heels are the highest-ranked team to visit McCamish Pavilion since the No. 2 Blue Devils on Jan. 8, 2020.

• Only two of Georgia Tech’s seven ACC losses have come by double digits. In those five losses, the Jackets had leads of 16 points against Boston College, seven vs. Notre Dame, 10 at Duke, 11 vs. Virginia, six vs. Pittsburgh.

• Tech is 4-8 against Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams this season, with Quad 1 wins over Duke and Clemson and Quad 2 wins over Mississippi State and Massachusetts. The Jackets have five Quad 1 and three Quad 2 opponents remaining on its schedule (North Carolina is a Quad 1 opportunity). Tech was 3-14 last season against Quad 1/2 foes.

• Tech has defeated Duke and North Carolina in the same regular season eight times in its 44-year ACC history, most recently in 2020-21. Every one of those Yellow Jacket teams played in the NCAA Tournament, and each of Tech’s four ACC Championship teams accomplished the feat.

• Tech has lost four straight home games. The Yellow Jackets last dropped four consecutive home games last season but have not lost five in a row at home since the 2011-12 season, when McCamish Pavilion was under construction, and the Jackets split their home schedule between Gas South Arena in Duluth, Ga., and State Farm Arena. Tech has not lost five or more in a row in its on-campus home since the 1980-81 season. the Jackets’ second year in the ACC.

• Tech has averaged 74.1 points per game and has connected on 45.4 percent of its field goal tries in ACC play, which ranks No. 6 and No. 2, respectively, in those categories. Tech leads in three-point field goal per game on conference play (9.56) and is fifth in percentage (.364).

• Tech has the ACC’s sixth-most efficient offense in conference games (108.4 points per 100 possessions, according to KenPom.com) and ranks No. 3 in effective field goal percentage (53.5) in conference games.

• Four Tech players are averaging double figures in ACC play - Baye Ndongo (15.6), Miles Kelly (13.6), Kowacie Reeves, Jr. (12.1), and Naithan George (10.1). Those four players have combined to hit 47.4 percent of their shots from the floor (175-369) and 38.3 percent from three-point range (59-of-154).

• Tech has started two freshmen - Baye Ndongo and point guard Naithan George - in its last 16 games. The Jackets have not had two freshmen in its regular starting lineup since the 2018-19 season (Michael Devoe, Khalid Moore), and have not had a freshman regularly start at point guard since Jose Alvarado in 2017-18.

• Either Ndongo or George has led Tech in scoring in eight of Tech’s last 10 games, and in seven of nine ACC games. They have accounted for 37.9 percent of Tech’s points over its last 10 games, 34.6 percent in ACC games.

• Miles Kelly, Tech’s leading scorer in 2022-23 at 14.4 points per game, is Tech’s leading scorer again this season at 14.2 points per game. The junior guard leads three Jackets averaging in double figures with freshman forward Baye Ndongo (13.3 ppg) and junior guard Kowacie Reeves, Jr. (11.8 ppg). Five other Jackets average between 4.2 and 9.2 points per game.

• Kelly and Tyzhaun Claude each need six points to reach 900 for their careers.

• Freshman forward Baye Ndongo has won the ACC’s Rookie of the Week honor three times this season (Dec. 2, Dec. 18, Dec. 26), most for a Yellow Jacket since current NBA star Josh Okogie did so during the 2016-17 season.

• Tech’s point guard tandem of Naithan George and Kyle Sturdivant has averaged 7.3 assists per game combined, 9.7 in ACC games. Their assist/turnover ratio is 2.56-to-1 combined overall, 3.78-to-1 in conference games. Both players rank among the nation’s top 50 players in assist rate (assists divided by the field goals made by the player’s teammates while he is on the court) according to KenPom.com.

SERIES VS. NORTH CAROLINA

• North Carolina has a 72-27 lead in the all-time series between the two teams and a 58-25 advantage since Tech joined the ACC (one Tech win in 2016-17 vacated by NCAA Committee on Infractions).

• The Tar Heels have won 12 of the last 15 games in the series and each of the last three, sweeping the 2021-22 regular season series and the teams’ only meeting in 2022-23. Tech won the two meetings before that, a 72-67 win at McCamish Pavilion in the teams’ only 2020-21 meeting and a 96-83 victory at the Dean Smith Center in the teams’ only meeting of the 2019-20 season.

• Tech is 13-16 against North Carolina, dating back to the 2001-02 season.

• The teams have played 42 times in the city of Atlanta, including seven at McCamish Pavilion, where Tech is 2-5 (on court) against the Tar Heels. The teams met 23 times at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, where the Tar Heels won 12 of 23. Tech won six of the last seven meetings in the Thrillerdome, however, and won six of eight against UNC in the Coliseum under Paul Hewitt.

• Between 1982 and 1996, the Yellow Jackets played eight of their home games with the Tar Heels at the old Omni arena in downtown Atlanta (2-6 record). Counting ACC and SIC Tournament games played in the city, Tech is 15-25 vs. North Carolina in Atlanta.

• Tech is 8-6 in games played away from Chapel Hill since 2000-01, including three ACC Tournament wins.

• In ACC Tournament play, the Yellow Jackets have won five of nine meetings, and Tech has won the last three encounters (2004, 2005, 2010). Two of Tech’s five tournament wins occurred in championship games, the 1985 final in Atlanta and the 1993 final in Charlotte.

• Tech’s greatest success in its series with North Carolina occurred during the middle 1990s when the Jackets won five of seven meetings, including three straight wins over No. 1-ranked Tar Heel teams during the 1993 and 1994 campaigns.

TEAM TRENDS

• Only five Tech teams since 1997 have finished a season with a KenPom.com offensive efficiency rating higher than the current Yellow Jackets’ rating of 110.3. The Jackets have exceeded a point per possession in five straight games and in seven of nine ACC games.

• Tech, which had a season-low five turnovers against Virginia Tech, has averaged 10.2 turnovers over its last 10 games, after averaging more than 19 in the three games prior and 14 over the first 10 games of the season. The Jackets have had single-digit turnovers in six games this season.

• Tech is 25-of-74 from three-point range (33.8 percent) in its last three games after hitting 10 or more in four straight games (39.7 percent).

• Tech has made 73.8 percent of its free throws (48-of-65) in its last three games.

• Miles Kelly and Kowacie Reeves, Jr., are the only Tech players to start every game this season.

• Deebo Coleman and Kyle Sturdivant have not started a game this year, but have been on the floor for 14 and 12, respectively, of Tech’s games at the finish.

• At least nine players have seen the court in 19 of Tech’s first 20 games (only eight played against Hawai’i). Eight players average more than 12 minutes per game in ACC games.

PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS

• Freshman forward Baye Ndongo has scored in double digits in Tech’s last 12 games, averaging 15.4 points and 9.3 rebounds, and has hit on 66.1 percent of his field goals (78-of-118).

• Ndongo made 7-of-13 shots from the floor against Virginia Tech and is converting at a 61.5-percent rate in ACC games, 60.4 percent for the season. He ranks No. 2 nationally among freshmen in field goal percentage.

• Ndongo’s current scoring average of 13.3 points per game is the highest for a Tech freshman since Josh Okogie in 2016-17 (16.1), and his rebound average of 8.6 is the highest since Chris Bosh in 2002-23 (9.0), which is the highest rebound average ever for a Tech freshman.

• Freshman point guard Naithan George ranks No. 2 in the ACC in assist average (6.6 per game) and assist-turnover ratio (3.93-1) in conference games.

• Kowacie Reeves, Jr., has hit 45.9 percent of his shots from the floor and a team-best 45.2 percent from three-point range in ACC games. He shot just 19 percent from three-point range in SEC games last year at Florida.

• Reeves has 103 three-point field goals in his college career, including 37 in 20 games this season, more threes than in either of his first two full seasons in college.

• Kyle Sturdivant has 24 assists and six turnovers in his last six games and has a 59/27 (2.19-to-1) ratio for the season, 28/8 vs. the ACC.

• George and Sturdivant have recorded 74 assists and just 18 turnovers combined in Tech’s last eight games, better than a 4-to-1 ratio. For the season, the point guard combo has a 2.56-to-1 ratio. In ACC games, they have a 3.78-to-1 ratio.

• Tyzhaun Claude has averaged 6.0 points and 5.0 rebounds, hit 6-of-6 from the floor and 12-of-16 from the foul line in Tech’s last four games. He has averaged 24 total minutes.

• Amaree Abram’s appearance at Virginia Tech was his first since Jan. 13 at Duke, while Carter Murphy (six points in 11 minutes) played his first game since Dec. 5 at Georgia.

 

  • Associated Categories: Sports
  • Associated Tags: Georgia Tech men's basketball
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