Had you turned the Georgia Tech-UNC game off at halftime, you probably would've characterized Georgia Tech as a lazy, sloppy team that didn't really care. North Carolina came out, went on a 15-0 run, and the Yellow Jackets had no answer in what was essentially a must-win.
Until the second half, of course, when they turned on the jets and overcame a ten point halftime deficit to advance to the second round for a chance at the Maryland Terrapins.
First things first: it was an ugly game, on every side. The game was North Carolina's for the taking - they only lost by 4, and had far more than 4 points worth of open shots. Get this: they shot 12% from 3, and took 16 shots. They had a higher 3PA than 3P%. Trust me on this one: it wasn't GT's defense forcing all those misses. If UNC was a little better, they would've dug GT much farther down earlier. It's also worth the note that GT really didn't seem to care for the first half of this game, and seemed apathetic at times.
It also revealed nothing we didn't already know about the Yellow Jackets. GT's guard play is horrendous as ever, and they had more turnovers (13) than assists (11). There's still no real PG, they jack way too many threes, and ignore Derrick Favors too much. Maryland's solid perimeter defense will cause them problems, and Gary Williams has the knowledge and guard play to exploit it on the other end.
Likewise, they don't have much in the way of outside shooting - they shot just 26% from 3, and just 56% from the FT line. Like the first time, hack away, and don't be afraid to give anyone not named D'Andre Bell or Glen Rice, Jr.
Surprisingly, they were actually outrebounded by UNC, which was unexpected given that they tend to be a good rebounding team and outrebounded Maryland by 9 the first time around. UNC has size that Maryland doesn't have, though. That wasn't enough on its own, of course, and GT's lack of hustle doomed them; Maryland at the very least gives a lot of effort on the boards, so hopefully they'll be able to stay close in that category. If GT is that careless again, they probably won't get destroyed. If they actually care, though, their bigs have the potential to wreak havoc on Maryland's frontcourt.
Like I said, it was a poorly played game, and there wasn't much in the way of positives for GT, except for two things that you can probably guess: Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal. Tech's best players combined for a 12-16 shooting performance from the field (7-8 from Favors) and 30 points (18 from Favors). Favors paired his 18 points with 9 boards and 5 blocks; it's clear who the leader of this team is. Favors can be absurdly good at times, a fact Maryland knows well from the last time the two teams matched up - he had a monstrous 21 points and 18 rebounds. Again: this frontcourt can be very, very good.
That brings me to my real point about this entire thing: Georgia Tech is the same team they were a few weeks ago, only less motivated. Maryland only won by a buzzer beater last time, and they'll lose the homecourt advantage. This has the potential to be a very close game, and I ultimately expect it to come down to who can do better against their inferior competition: Greivis Vasquez vs. GT's guards, or Derrick Favors against Maryland's frontline.
Simply, if Maryland can make the shots given to them - and there will be plenty - and limit GT's second chances, from Favors in particular, they'll win. If Favors goes off on them again and turns into a one-man second chance machine, it will be very close.