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Game Preview: #19 UNC at Georgia Tech

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina at Georgia Tech, 7:00 PM, ESPNU

By the unwritten definition of the phrase, this is a trap game for UNC. The Tar Heels are facing one of the worst teams in the ACC(record wise) with a huge game against rival Duke looming on Saturday. The game is on the road, Georgia Tech is playing on Senior Night and the Tar Heels have been prone to offensive inconsistency. In that respect every game is sort of a trap game for UNC. All that being said, UNC hasn't shown much evidence of the game prior to the regular season finale against Duke being much of a trap game. In the 11 previous seasons under Roy Williams, UNC is 10-1 in the penultimate game of the season with Duke waiting in the wings. The only loss came at Georgia Tech in 2007 in the "Ty Lawson was benched for the first eight minutes" game.

Two other elements of this game to consider. The first is Georgia Tech's complete inability to win a one possession/overtime game in ACC play. The Yellow Jackets are now 0-8 in ACC games decided by one possession or in overtime. Four other losses have been by 7, 6, 5 and 4 with Virginia and UNC owning the only two blowout losses on Georgia Tech's schedule. The Yellow Jackets are 2-5 at home this season and the five losses have come by a total of 12 points. Sheer probability not to mention the randomness of life says Georgia Tech is going to figure out how to win a close game at some point which means UNC probably should make sure to be sufficiently ahead.

The other element in play here is the fact this is a "payback" game for Georgia Tech. The Jackets got rolled in Chapel Hill and likely isn't going to allow that to happen again, not on Senior Night. UNC isn't likely to play as well as it did on February 21st which is to say this will be a dogfight. Georgia Tech's defense has largely been very good in terms of limiting opposing teams over offensive efficiency. The Jackets have the big bodies and rebounding numbers to challenge UNC on the boards. If that can be exploited much the same way NC State did, UNC could be in for another rough Tuesday night. After all, UNC's problem versus NC State was on the offensive end and the Jackets are good enough there to make this a tougher outing than it was 11 days before.

UNC 71 Georgia Tech 64