ACC Basketball

Tuesday’s Tussles

GERRY BROOME — AP Photo

NORTH CAROLINA AT GEORGIA TECH

The Tar Heels are coming off a nice win against Miami, but they’ve lost five of eight and hasn’t beaten a top-50 team since beating NC State since January 14. Good thing the Yellow Jackets are not a top-50 team. Georgia Tech has won just three of 17 games in the ACC, having lost three straight, including a 29-point butt-kicking to North Carolina less than two weeks ago.

In that first contest, the second best offensive rebounding team (Georgia Tech) got owned by the Tar Heels on the boards and struggled to hold onto the ball. On the flip side, UNC hit over 60% of their shots, dishing out 26 assists to their 38 buckets, as Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson hit 15-23 from the floor.

So can Tech be competitive this time around? They will need to find some offense and I just don’t know where it comes from? Marcus Georges-Hunt is coming off a 20-point game, but should struggle against a more athletic Tar Heels team. None of their guards can hit from behind the arc and their big men can’t finish around the rim. Meanwhile, North Carolina will again dominate inside with Meeks and Johnson and look for Marcus Paige to have another solid game.

WORTHLESS PREDICTIONS: North Carolina, 83-70

NC STATE AT CLEMSON

For a hot minute, the Wolfpack were making waves, winning three in row, including victories over Louisville and North Carolina, that is until they went on the road and got owned by Boston College. They had zero energy, trailing by as much 23 points to a team with one-win in the conference, as Trevor Lacey, Ralston Turner and Anthony Barber combined to score 11-for-39.

Clemson had dropped four of five and had played themselves out of a NCAA Tournament bid, before taking care of business against Georgia Tech on Saturday, pulling out a 70-63 victory in overtime.

Of course one would think that NC State’s last defeat will awaken this team, but let’s not forget, they did the same thing against Clemson back on January 28. In their first meeting, the Tigers opened up a 14-point lead early and led 36-16 at the half. The Wolfpack rallied to get back within five, but Clemson finished strong to pull off an impressive 68-53 victory on the road.

This will be Clemson’s final game at home and they should be motivate to get back to playing the defense that originally made them a bubble team. Like in their first meeting, where NC State only hit 12-for-49 from two, the Tigers will again collapse inside and dare the Wolfpack to hit shots from deep. Yet, NC State can rebound, especially now that BeeJay Anya is giving Mark Gottfried solid minutes off the bench, so I like the Wolfpack to pull off a tight one.

WORTHLESS PREDICTIONS: NC State, 66-65

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