What's Changed Since Then: Two of GT's three freshmen wunderkind have performed as advertised - Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young lead the team in minutes and points. The third, Zack Peacock, has settled into a role coming off the bench. The team also lost Lewis Clinch for the season to a school suspension. Jeremis Smith is still playing, but his numbers are significantly lower since the introduction of Young to the frontcourt.
Tech has been a bit of a dark horse this year. Their 2-2 ACC record is marred by a December loss to Miami, but in the new year they're three games into the toughest four game stretch in the ACC (Clemson, Duke, FSU and UNC) with two wins to show for it. They've recovered from their December swoon, and look to break into the Top 25 soon.
They manage it with a fast tempo and an efficient offense, with heavy emphasis on rebounding. In many ways, they're the most Carolina-like of all the teams UNC will face this season. Where they differ is turnovers - the Yellow Jackets cough the ball up a good 20% more often than the Heels. They also love the three, shooting it more often than everyone but the Hokies in league play, and making a higher percentage than anyone else.
Defensively, Georgia Tech is middle of the road in pretty much every metric, but have rough time of it against tougher opponents. Their always good for a chunk of rebounds, but have never been spectacular in causing turnovers. They have the size inside to bother Hansbrough and Wright, but whether that will be enough to stop Carolina is pretty tough to call.
I got a little flack from Tech fans due to some poor writing on my part. Tech is not part of the ACC cellar - that's solely Miami, State and Wake. (Dave Sez would add Virginia to that list, but I don't think they're the same level of bad.) Tech is, if anything, only a small step down from FSU, Clemson, and OtherTech. And although UNC beat two of those teams by 20-plus points, they're still a tough slate. UNC is just very good. Georgia Tech's a different sort of team than UNC's been seeing in the ACC to date, and it'll be interesting to see if their rebounding advantage holds up, as whoever has the edge there is most likely to win the game.