That may have been the same attitude that Carolina had for the first 20 minutes of the game. No one expected the 7-8 Yellow Jackets to play as well as they did last night. A few notes:
- Georgia Tech is definitely not the worst team in the ACC. They have good athletes, especially in the paint, who can keep the team in most games if no one gets into foul trouble. They have the ability to make crisp passes and create wide open shots possession after possession. Their post players, for most of this game, outhustled the Tar Heels to the ball consistently. It is possible, even probable, that Georgia Tech has been underachieving up to this point, and it has taken the ACC season to give them the impetus to put it all together.
- This game has one main theme in common with Carolina’s other near-loss at Clemson. Both the Yellow Jackets and the Tigers chose to run a fast paced game alongside us, and managed to keep up for the entire game. This could be a big problem looming for the Tar Heels in the tournament. Carolina would almost certainly have to play a very good fast-paced team to get to the championship and as great a coach as Roy Williams is, one of his weaknesses is making mid-game adjustments.
- When all else was equal for the first 39 and a half minutes of the game, Danny Green almost single-handedly won the final 30 seconds. First, after Carolina played some good defense, Green grabbed the rebound of a Georgia Tech shot and drew a foul with 22 seconds left. Then, after making one of two free throws, Georgia Tech had the ball with a chance to win. They had a shot from 6 feet to win, but Green and Hansbrough were there to make the block. After the Jackets throw up another shot, who’s there to make the final rebound? Danny Green. A Yellow Jackets swats the ball out of bounds, Carolina has the ball with 0.5 second left, and Carolina survives.
- Like in the Clemson game, Hansbrough was turned into a non-factor for most of the second half outside of the free throw line. Unlike the Clemson game, so was Wayne Ellington (7 points for the game).
- Ty Lawson: 5 assists and 4 turnovers in 33 minutes. Quentin Thomas: 2 assists and 0 turnovers in 7 minutes. Just sayin’.
The most important lesson in this game, as always: no one can take the result of an ACC game for granted. Not that I’m overly concerned about Saturday’s game against Maryland.