#157 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #119 R.P.I. Georgia Tech:
TV coverage: 2:30pm, Saturday, ESPN3
Vegas line: VT+9,5
This is one flat looking Virginia Tech men’s hoops squad to me folks. We are not just going through a chilly shooting spell this time of year; we are going through a cold-everything trend. Rebounding, defending, shooting, all trending southwards ever since the instant our road-trip to wvu began. What in the wide wide world of sports is going on around here?
Yes, the M.Wood injury did an already thin frontcourt no favors. Yes, an outside or perimeter team will have an off night. Though this is now officially a slump dating back to our last good game, which was played on December 01st. That’s nearly 42 days folks and that’s not a slump, that’s a flat-out trend. Now on the other hand, this team has to rid itself of the influenza bug and build up some cold (shooting) immunity sooner or later. What I really don’t like is the flatness of enthusiasm that I’m seeing all over the court. We are like a 16 year old girl who reads the ‘rong thing about herself on Facebook and suddenly is leaking confidence everywhere. That’s not good, nor is our recent play and Gah.Tech does not appear set to make it any better. Although we are clearly due to snap outta this funk; even if one has to favor that to happen at home.
Georgia Tech at a glance:
- The Jackets are 6th best in scoring defense allowed (54.2 ppg)
- 8th best in FG% defense allowed (35.6%)
- 48th fewest turnovers (12.1)
- 70th best in offensive rebounding
- 281st in Free-Throw percentage (64.5%)
Georgia Tech Frontcourt:
N.B.A. pros= nil.
Daniel Miller is a 6`11“ 257 lb. red-shirt third-year Five or legitimate Center down low for the Yellow Jackets. Dan is shot-blocking machine or a one-man S.W.A.T. team all unto his ownself. 175 career send-backs and 2.4 per game this season says so. When Dan is not minding the store down-low, he is anteing up 7.4 ppg, 6.4 boards, and a surprisingly second-best 2.o assists per game. Not only does this kid sport a John Wayne ‘esque “Big Jake” nickname, he possess soft-hands and good footwork on the low-blocks. He gets most of his points on offensive put-backs and it is therefore no surprise that he leads Georgia Tech on the offensive glass with 34 swipes of the same. Dan is an honor-roll student who has never ever missed a single solitary game in his 76 game Yellow Jacket career. That’s a durable and useful kid right there in my book folks. Also banging away upfront down in the ATL would be 6` 8“ 245 lb. Robert Carter Jr. Bob is a nugget or first-year baller who is getting you 9.9 ppg, and a team leading 6.6 rebounds in his inaugural season of D-1 play. Bob was a huge in-state recruit who had offers from all over and brings some measure of range to his traditionally sized power-forward game. Carter has a wide-body and is the strongest player on the team. Robert is a versatile kid who plays unselfishly and can pass the rock fairly well. That plus his shooting really does make him an impoverished mans plus-sized Point-Forward and that’s not half bad for the 6th ranked Power-Forward recruit in America this time last year. I’ma gonna thrown Marcus Georges-Hunt in at you right here –because this is where my Word.doc cursor is- although do be clear, he is more of a Swing or a front/backcourt ‘tweener if you will. #3 Mr. Hunt goes 6`5“ and tips the Toledo’s at 215 lbs. Hunt is said to be a multifaceted scorer who is an explosive scorer at that. He is more parts perimeter and less parts post, though he is quick enough to create mismatches at the Three, and strong enough to overpower traditional 2-guards. Hunt leads the Jackets with 10.4 ppg and mixes in 4.5 boards just for good measure. That’s pretty decent for a kid who is only 14 games into his collegiate career after being a 3-time AAAA all-state baller and the 14th ranked scholastic Small-Forward just 9 months ago.
Georgia Tech Backcourt:
Hurts= 1, Corey Heyward ( 6`1“, 214 lb. Guard) out for the year with 2ndleft-knee A.c.l. surgery, God Bless on that) First team all AAAAA Georgia high school baller and player of the year! And yes, he is related, as Corey is the son of none other than Pittsburgh and ex-N.F.L. star Craig “ironhead” Heyward.
Mfon –Scrabble points- Udofia and Brandon Reed hold down the Georgia Tech starting backcourt fort. #0, is a 6`2“ 195 lb. senior year converted point-guard who has only played the One spot for a year and change. That being said, Mr. Udofia is scoring a second-best 9.9 ppg and dishing out a team leading 3.2 assists while also being the leading 3-point shooter (38%) in the top-7 rotation for Coach Brian Gregory. Mfon is said to be a head-strong on-the-ball-defender and that means he draws the E.Green match-up via default. Mfon is a lefty, and that too helps him naturally check any right-handed shooter, he is also a speedy/quick lead-guard who is now playing the point. Though his career has been a bit flat at Georgia Tech, one could spin that the other way and say he has been consistent as well. I’ll call that solid if not inspired enough from the former 9th ranked point-guard prospect outta high school way back when. Brandon Reed is a 6`3“ 180 lb. red-shirt junior season imported Sun Belt baller who has seen his scoring cut in half at Georgia Tech. Right now he collects 5.5 points and has been mired in a season long shooting slump at a chilly 34% from the field. Bran’ is really more of a combo-guard as opposed to be a true shooting-guard much less an authentic point. Bran is a honor-roll student and he was a big-time track-n-field star in the 400m in high school. That tells you right there that this kid can change ends in a hurry and our transition defense has been less than transitional of late. He is also the cousin of former NFL and Auburn running back Joe Cribbs … and the nephew of Missouri State Hall of Fame women’s basketball player Roshonda Reed. So genetics or Coach God appointed athletic double-helices this kid gots.
Georgia Tech Bench: (2+ deep)
The Jackets really have two guys that routinely play, and then 4-5 who contribute spot minutes as the game, foul-trouble, and or match-ups dictate. Kammeon Holsey and Chris Bolden back-up the Georgia Tech frontcourt and backcourt respectively. Kammeon is a 6`8“ 231 lb. well-built junior year home-state baller who provides right-size and a legitimate A.c.c. body up-front. Kammeon has picked up right where he left off at close of business last season and is a remote Sixth Man of the Year award candidate in Atlantic Coast terms for it. Right now the lowercase k-mart is netting you 9.5 ppg and pulling down nearly 5 boards while leading the team in shooting from the floor at 57%. That’s pretty dang tight from a guy who is (much) better known for his energy and relentlessness than he is for his raw skill-set. It’s even tighter when you have already blown out an A.c.l. (God Bless on that) and when you used to be a leaper who could defend more than one position and have now morphed or reinvented your game into that of a worker-bee. Chris Bolden is a 6`2“ 195 rook’ who renaged on Miami at the last second to bring his sharpshooting game over to the ATL. Chris gets you 4.6 ppg, a rebound and an assist off the bench; even though he has yet to find his D-1 stroke from distance as he is only shooting 23% from beyond the arc in his debut year. That said, I would not sweat that outta the 23rd ranked shooting-guard who is well known for his work-ethos and desire to (eventually) become a college basketball coach in his own right. Kids like that sort themselves out, as the only place winning comes before working is the dictionary.
Conclusion(s), illation, OPT digits:
This is one balanced looking Georgia Tech men’s hoops squad to me folks. As I can not nominate a single star amongst this ATL constellation, though make no mistake, there a more than several B- to B+ quality kids to be found in the Georgia Tech basketball program right about now.
All the more so when you see individuals purging themselves for the good of the team. In fact, there was more than a subtle whiff of old-school NY.Knick basketball circa W.Reed, Monroe, Jackson and company to be found on the Yellow-Jackets club –albeit it a good deal more dilute. This team tries hard, they play hard and more importantly than that … they play together. Whole lotta trust on this team on-film and you have to respect that; even if they do not possess that one all-A.c.c. caliber go-to kinda guy.
Right now, I’m -yet again- suffering from difficulties or textbook Scarcity Effect when it comes to nominating R.A.T.T. reasons as to why Virginia Tech could win this one –never mind should. And it’s not that Georgia Tech is unbeatable either, mind you that; as these Yellow Jackets were pegged as a pre-season middle of the pack Atlantic Coast team, at best. Some would argue even a schosche less than that, as there is no star-power down in the ATL, the Jackets lack a go-to player accordingly, and their 10-4 success has come against a relatively uninspired schedule. Now mix in the fact that Gah.Tech is only a mere 1-4 vs. the five name-teams that they have played thus far and you begin to see what I mean.
Over the last five games, there’s really not much separating these two teams; at least not on offense. 1.5%, 1.8% and 2.4% as shooting from the floor, shooting from downtown and FT percentage go respectively (all ever so slightly in favor of Gee.Tee). Or in other words these are two downright offensive offensive teams. However, defense is another matter entirely and one team appears poised to sting the other in stop-unit terms. The Tech that enjoys a 8.9 advantage in FG% allowed from the floor, is the same as the one that is 11.3% better in defending beyond the arc, and no less than +8 in rebounding margin over that very same penta-game time-frame. That Tech is additionally an 8-1 team at home that is hosting a 1-3 (really more like 2-5) road team … that’s my equation here folks, that’s my calculus. The home team wins thanks to superior defensive prowess in a game that won’t see a whole lotta offense outta either side.
Virginia Tech=63, Georgia Tech=71