Basketball Preview: VT vs. GT

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Virginia Tech will have to get over Thursday night’s heartbreaker quickly.  Georgia Tech is coming to town, and they represent a good opportunity to pick up an ACC win.

The Yellow Jackets are struggling under first-year head coach Brian Gregory.  They are 9-16 overall, and they are dead last in the ACC with a 2-9 record.  The Yellow Jackets upset NC State 82-71 in Raleigh, and they also have a 51-47 win over Boston College in Atlanta.  Their losses have come by an average of 12.3 points per game, and only two of them have been by five points or fewer.  When they lose, the Jackets generally get blown out, including a 70-38 beating at the hands of UVA in Phillips Arena.

Georgia Tech is a young team with no standout player, so it’s really no surprise that they are struggling so much this year.  Former head coach Paul Hewitt didn’t leave Brian Gregory a whole lot to work with.

RankPosPlayerHtWtCommit (verbal date)
1WR/ATHJoel Caleb6-3215
2DEEli Harold6-4220Virginia (8/2/11)
3DB/WRAlex Carter6-0185Stanford (4/2/11)
4LB/DEKen Ekanem6-3230
5RBJ.C. Coleman5-7170VT (4/23/11)
6LBKwontie Moore6-1240Virginia (5/11/11)
7DTKorren Kirven6-4270
8LBDeon Clarke6-3215VT (6/29/11)
9SC.J. Prosise6-2200Notre Dame (5/26/11)
10WR/SAnthony Cooper6-0180Virginia (7/20/11)
11DTNigel Williams6-3260VT (7/10/11)
12DLCourtnye Wynn6-5245Virginia (7/10/11)
13LB/RBTrey Edmunds6-2200VT (8/5/11)
14OLWin Homer6-5240Boston College (5/27/11)
15LBDevin Vandyke6-1205VT (7/3/11)
16S/WRDesmond Frye6-3200VT (4/25/11)
17OL/DTAndre Miles-Redmond6-4265Virginia (6/30/11)
18ATHDer'Woun Greene5-10175VT (4/23/11)
19DT/OLTyrell Chavis6-4288Virginia (6/18/11)
20RB/LBDevon Johnson6-0200Marshall (1/25/11)
21TEDakota Jackson6-4230VT (3/28/11)
22QB/ATHBrenden Motley6-4190VT (6/22/11)
23LB/SMark Hall6-2200Virginia (2/21/11)
24WR/SMario Nixon6-5200Virginia (8/9/11)
25WR/CBMaurice Canady6-1165Virginia (6/11/11)
26DT/OLDerek Dowrey6-3275Penn State (6/25/11)
27DTAlston Smith6-2260VT (7/9/11)
28WR/TEKyle Dockins6-4200
29SMike Tyson6-2185
30WRRomond DeLoatch6-4210
31QBConnor Jessop6-4200
32OLJackson Matteo6-5275
33TE/DEDylan Stallings6-4225
34LBRhakeem Stallings6-0205
35DBD'Metrius Williams5-11180
36LBDarius Parson6-2220
37DBWil Wahee5-10185Virginia (5/9/11)
38WRThomas Smith6-2210VT (7/17/11)
39DL/TESeth Dooley6-5220VT (7/9/11)
40DB/WRCarlson Milikin6-0185Virginia (lacrosse)

Obviously Georgia Tech doesn’t have a lot of scoring threats in their starting lineup.  Everyone in that group seems pretty much the same.  Their top scorer, Glen Rice, Jr., has started just 10 games this season, and he has averaged 13 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while mostly coming off the bench.

Rice is a quality wing, thought he’s better suited to being a complementary scorer.  He’s not the type of player who can shoulder the entire scoring load, as he needs to do for Georgia Tech to be successful.  Not only does Georgia Tech not have a consistent primary scorer, Brian Gregory also doesn’t know what second scorer he can rely on from night to night.  Sometimes it’s Mfon Udofia, sometimes it’s Kammeon Holsey, etc.  That can make it difficult for a coach to gameplan, and Seth Greenberg is having the same problems at Virginia Tech, where Erick Green is the only consistent scorer on the team.

A quick run through the conference-only stats shows why Georgia Tech has been so bad this year.

Scoring offense: 10th
Scoring defense: 9th
FT %: 11th
FG %: 10th
FG % defense: 8th
3-Pt. %: 6th
3-Pt. % defense: 12th
Rebounding Margin: 5th
Turnover Margin: 11th

The Yellow Jackets don’t rank higher than fifth in the league in any category.  They average just over 57 points per game against ACC teams, and that’s not going to get it done.  Clemson, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Boston College are five of the bottom six teams in ACC scoring average, and it’s no coincidence that they are also at the bottom of the league standings.

Georgia Tech will bring several guys off the bench.

Nate Hicks (6-10, 218, So.): Hicks averages just under eight minutes per game.  He has been a good rebounder, but he’s not a scorer.

Nick Foreman (6-3, 210, Sr.): Foreman is a defensive specialist who doesn’t take many shots.  He’s on the court for about 10 minutes per game.

Julian Royal (6-7, 230, Fr.): The Hokies recruited Royal very hard.  He is Georgia Tech’s top post player off the bench.  He has range on his jumper and he’s a good offensive rebounder.

Pierre Jordan (6-0, 170, r-Sr.): Jordan is a transfer from Florida State.  He’s a marginal ACC player who rarely got off the bench for FSU, and who plays only 12 minutes for Georgia Tech.

With the exception of Royal, Georgia Tech just doesn’t have a lot of talented depth.  Nick Foreman and Pierre Jordan wouldn’t get off the bench very often at most ACC schools, and Hicks probably wouldn’t play at schools with any kind of frontcourt depth.

That being said, there is certainly talent in their starting lineup.  Mfon Udofia and Glen Rice, Jr. were both top 50 players coming out of high school.  Jason Morris played in the Jordan Brand All-Star Game.  Kammeon Holsey was  top 100 recruit, and Brandon Reed was the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year before transferring to Georgia Tech from Arkansas State.

The big issue for Georgia Tech has been turnovers.  They have 369 turnovers, while their opponents have only 288.  The Yellow Jackets are losing the battle of possessions, and as a result they are losing a lot of basketball games.

At home, this is a game Virginia Tech has a great chance to win.  They have to make sure they put the Florida State game behind them.  Tip-off is scheduled for 3pm, and the game will be televised by RSN.  Check your local listings.

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3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Agree with you both. We’re young but so are alot of teams but i also see many teams find ways to get it done. VT is now respectable. I like what Seth has done and what he preaches (toughness, 50-50 balls, defense, and heart) but we did choke because we didnt stay on the offensive when we had double-digit leads. I think our tactic placed undo psi on our young developing players that caused them to tighten up. You cant play: Keep away-Hold the ball-Use the clock offense, Try to score 2pts with 10 on shot clock, Try to stop every opponent’s 3 point shot in a zone defense, and Still have the guts and strength to drain every free throw shot in a hot gym in the swamp amongst a hostile, rowdy crowd with old momentum turning against you. Seth asked for too much. The kids played hard but we are missing the right ingredient to push through this glass ceiling. I hope Seth finds the answer but i just dont know right now. Do we realize that George Mason and VCU have not only made it to the dance multiple times while Seth has been at VT but they have also made it to the final 4 as well! Seth, hasnt’ even taken us to the final 4 of the NIT. I like him, i like his antics, and i like most of his court-demeanor but i just don’t know if we get there with the current game plan. Something has to change and get better. I hope its just the youth factor but i just dont know……I will reserve full judgement until next year.

  2. watching tech for close to 50 years and the fl. state game was the biggest bastketball choke i can remember.

    1. Been following for over 50 years and do not remember a younger team with only 7 healthy players worn out at the end of a very physical, aggressive game.

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