Where: Alexander Memorial Coliseum, Atlanta, GA
When: Wednesday, January 16th, 9:00 PM
Records: UNC 17-0, 2-0 ACC; GT 7-8, 0-2 ACC
As bad as Georgia Tech has been this season losing eight of 15 games to schools who will not even be on the table at the NIT selection meeting I cannot imagine a scenario in which UNC has problems winning this game except this is the ACC and crap happens. As previously stated in this blog, I am convinced this game serves as a test to see if UNC is locked into the level of play they showed on Saturday or will they sort of revert to that inconsistent defensive effort we have been so accustomed to seeing. We will see.
From a historical perspective, Atlanta is not one of UNC's more favored destinations nor is playing GT away from Chapel Hill. UNC has lost four straight against at GT and counting two ACC Tournament losses six straight away from the Smith Center. As for playing badly in Atlanta this apparently goes way back since Daddy always spoke ill of UNC playing at The Omni, which was the previous large arena in Atlanta. I thought that it stemmed from the 1977 Final Four which was played there and had UNC suffering a heartbreaking loss to a Marquette team they should have beaten. As it turns out UNC had quite a few bad losses in Atlanta and The Omni in particular.
- 1983: UNC loses to NC State in the ACC Semifinal in a game that essentially propelled the Wolfpack forward to an NCAA title
- 1984: The infamous Sweet Sixteen loss to Indiana that saw Michael Jordan pick up three first half fouls.
- 1985: UNC loses to Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship.
In 1989 the trend was halted with UNC winning an ACC title there and then the first two games of the NCAA Tournament before losing in the Sweet Sixteen in Lexington. Of course this came after the next to last regular season game of 1989 at GT that had UNC leading by three and committing a foul in the waning seconds to prevent Dennis Scott from getting a game tying shot off. GT made the FTs but ended up stealing the in-bounds pass, hitting a three and winning the game anyway.
Basically there is a lot of bad mojo surrounding UNC trips to Atlanta which was more than illustrated in the game last season where Ty Lawson was benched for eight minutes because of a bad practice and all sorts of Lawson-to-the-NBA rumors started. UNC lost fairly badly and questions abounded about whether the team could pull it together and win anything. Given this year's team and their maturity I think they will handle Atlanta just fine.
UNC 88 GT 70