College Basketball Odds, Picks and Predictions for Georgia Tech vs. North Carolina: Expect Tar Heels to Roll in Chapel Hill (Saturday, Jan. 15)
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Brady Manek (UNC)
- North Carolina looks for its second win of the season over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
- The Yellow Jackets have won just two of their last nine games and are 12.5-point underdogs.
- Collin Barnes breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Georgia Tech vs. North Carolina Odds
|Georgia Tech Odds|
-110o / -110u
|North Carolina Odds|
-110o / -110u
The Tar Heels will look to move to 2-0 against the Yellow Jackets this season, as they host Georgia Tech on Saturday. North Carolina enters this matchup coming off of a surprising 74-58 blowout win over the Virginia Cavaliers.
North Carolina is also looking to find some rhythm in what has been an up-and-down first season for new head coach Hubert Davis. The Tar Heels’ win over Virginia ended a seven-game losing streak against the Cavaliers, and came as a much-needed momentum boost for the team.
Georgia Tech, on the other hand, is 7-8 on the season, and has won just two of its last nine games. However, the Jackets were able to pull off an upset win on the road against Boston College in their last time out.
With both teams coming off of impressive wins, which squad will be able to carry the momentum into Saturday night?
North Carolina has a big test on deck, as it will travel to Miami on Tuesday to take on the ACC-leading Hurricanes. Does Tech have a chance to catch the Heels looking ahead?
Tristan Maxwell is third on the team in points per game at 9.3 per contest, but he was the star of the show against Boston College. Maxwell scored a career-high 22 points, as he led the Yellow Jackets past the Eagles.
After playing just one game last year due to a foot injury, Maxwell has played three games this season. His emergence as an offensive force could be huge for the Yellow Jackets, especially if he can stay healthy.
Maxwell’s emergence could come as help for Michael Devoe. Devoe is a star in not just the ACC, but in all of college basketball. He leads the team in points at 20.5, assists at 2.3, steals at 1.6 and blocks at 0.6 per game. Devoe is also shooting 49% from the field and 41.4% from 3-point range.
As a team, Georgia Tech ranks 119th overall on KenPom and is 168th in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Yellow Jackets average 68.7 points per game and have been especially good from deep, ranking 61st by hitting 3s at 36.1% clip.
But defense has been a serious problem for the Yellow Jackets. They are allowing opposing teams to score 68.5 points per game, just 0.2 less than they average on offense.
They’ve also had serious issues rebounding, pulling down just 35.9 per game. That is sure to be a factor against a 23rd-ranked rebounding team in North Carolina.
North Carolina is a good team with a lot of talent, however, there’s just one issue: they might be the most inconsistent team in college basketball.
In their last meeting with Georgia Tech, the Tar Heels were coming off of a dominant 72-51 win over Michigan, a team currently ranked 26th, per KenPom. They then went to halftime tied at 31 against Georgia Tech. But in the second half of that game, something happened that has seemed consistent since.
R.J. Davis took over on offense, scoring 13 of his 24 points in the second half. Davis currently ranks third on the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game, and leads the squad in assists at 3.6 per contest.
But there’s an even bigger concern for Georgia Tech than Davis, literally and figuratively. 6-foot-10 Armando Bacot is a star big man who currently ranks third in the nation in double-doubles (11), and is in the talk for Conference Player of the Year.
Bacot leads the team in points and rebounds at 16.6 and 11.1 per game, respectfully.
North Carolina averages 78.7 points per game and has shot 48.2% from the floor. They are hitting 40.1% from 3-point range and are out-rebounding teams by an average of 9.1 per game.
On defense, the Heels are giving up more points than Georgia Tech, allowing opposing teams to rack up 70.5 per game. They are right in line with the Yellow Jackets when it comes to shooting defense, though, giving up 42.7% from the floor.
Georgia Tech vs. North Carolina Betting Pick
Georgia Tech will be without a key piece that it had in its last game against UNC: 6-foot-10 center Rodney Howard. While Howard is averaging just 6.2 points per game, he was — at the time — leading the team in rebounds at 5.5 per contest.
He was also the closest thing the Jackets had to a defensive answer for Bacot. No starter on Georgia Tech is over 6-foot-8, which will surely be an issue against a dominant force in Bacot.
This is the main reason why I’m backing the Tar Heels in this matchup. I bet the Tar Heels at -12.5, and I would take them as high as -14.
Pick: North Carolina -14 or better
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