#133 R.P.I. Georgia Tech @ #147 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
TV coverage: 1pm, RSN & ESPN3
Vegas line: VT-2
For three basketball games in a row, I thought we had a decent enough chance to win. I really did, and yet at the end of the day, if my Aunt Kim had nutz and a bolt she’d be my Uncle Tim. And right now coach J’s and company are a .5oo team and tied for 12th place in a race of 12 in the A.c.c.
As close does not count and almost is not enough. Right now this is the little O&M engine that could(n’t). Though it had better get to where it could, and soon, as we are within a game or two of playing a de facto post-season eliminator game any time now. As suddenly nothing is easy and then we finish off 2013 with 3 of our last 6 games vs. opponents ranked #8 or better to close the show! That means our future is now.
That’s not good and neither is this basketball team beyond the nationwide leading scorer otherwise known as Erick Green. Who is simply having a phenomenal year — perhaps the greatest year of any Virginia Tech men’s basketball player ever?
Georgia Tech at a glance:
- 22nd in defensive FG percentage allowed (38.1%)
- 36th in scoring defense allowed (59.5 ppg)
- 281st in 3-ball percentage (31%)
- 3o3rd in FT percentage (64.3%)
Georgia Tech Frontcourt:
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. 183 career send-backs and 2.1 per game this season says so. When Dan is not minding the store down-low, he is 7.8 ppg, 6.4 boards, and a surprisingly second-best 2.2 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 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 10 ppg, and a team leading 6.6 rebounds in his inaugural season of D-1 plays. 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. Mr. Hunt goes 6`5“ and tips the Toledo’s at 215 lbs. Hunt is said to be a multi-faceted 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 10.2 ppg and mixes in 4.7 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 Small-Forward just 9 months ago.
Georgia Tech Backcourt:
Hurts=2, 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.
Jason Morris, (6`5“ 210 lb. junior shooting-guard, out 2-3 weeks with plantar fasciitis) 5.5 ppg, 3 boards, 43% on his three’s and yet 36% overall?!? Go fig’!
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 third-best 9.5 ppg and dishing a team leading 2.9 assists while also being the leading 3-point shooter (36%) 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 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 outta high school. 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 5.1 points and has been mired in a season long shooting slump at a chilly 33% from the field. Bran’ is really more of a combo-guard as opposed to be a true shooting-guard much less a point. Bran is a honor-roll student and he was a big-time track-n-field start 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:
The Jackets really have two or three guys that routinely play, and then 4-5 who play 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 9.4 ppg and pulling down 4.7 boards while leading the team in shooting from the floor at 56%. That’s pretty dang tight from a guy who (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 6.8 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 28% 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. (READERs note: Reed is now starting and Chris Bolden has been the starter for a couple of games since we last saw Gah.Tech)
Conclusion(s), illation, OPT digits:
Today’s word is: scupper…
scup·per 1 (skpr)
You can see it on the TV, the seats are starting to empty out as hooping enthusiasm begins to drain away with close L after close L. Those remind you of anything? It should; as it sure reminds me of the close to none other than Seth Greenberg’s embattled tenure down in the New River Valley this time last year. The only difference being the margin, which was just a scosche closer in Greenberg’s favor, as marginality goes itself.
Nevertheless, that’s just it, as our post-season margin of error is about 5 right now, as we prolly need five more wins to get into whatever spring fling as opposed to winding up spring broke. That means we really do need to beat Gah.Tech for a second time this Saturday. Only thing is, that Georgia Tech has improved nearly player by player since we last faced them and these Yellow Jackets are basically two shots away from being on a 4-o run in their last four and the 5-game splits favor them across the board. The Wrambling Wreck is 11 ppg better, 7% better from the floor, 8% better from beyond the arc, and +5 better in terms of rebounding margin as each team’s most recent 5-game trends go. That said, Gah.Tech is o for the season on the road for a reason and with a bullet. As this is just an outright bad looking visiting team for whatever reason. In terms of Home/Away splits, VT is better by 17 ppg, 10% from the floor, a staggering 19% from downtown, +3 in rebounding margin. That 3-point differential is hard to ignore and you have to think –or is it hope- that coach J’s boy’s have at least one more good game left in them somewhere.
Neither of these Tech’s is overtly talented beyond one #11, Erick Green who has strung together four of his last five games in excess of 25 ppg and the homesteading A.c.c. team where the host wins about 70% of the time. Green and company drain just enough 3’s and clear the Jacket deck in this one.
Virginia Tech=65, Georgia Tech=61