Date: Saturday, January 12, 2013
TV: ACC Network
Virginia Tech heads to Atlanta looking to pick up their first ACC win of the season against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are in the same boat. After going 10-2 during the non-conference portion of their schedule, they have started ACC play with an 0-2 record.
The Yellow Jackets lost to Cal 68-57 in Anaheim, and then lost a tough 75-62 game to #12 Illinois on the road that was much closer than the final score indicated. On the other hand, they’ve beaten just two teams ranked in the top 200 of the RPI: #166 Tulane to begin the season, and #80 Saint Mary’s in late November.
ACC play hasn’t started well for Georgia Tech. They were defeated 62-49 by Miami at home in the newly refurbished Hank McCamish Pavilion, and then dropped a road game to NC State 83-70 on Wednesday night. They’ll be looking to get in the win column for the first time in conference play, and they’ll be facing an opponent in Virginia Tech that has been very vulnerable as of late.
The coach: Georgia Tech’s Brian Gregory is in his second season in Atlanta. He was hired away from Dayton, where he went 172-94 in eight seasons. He made two NCAA Tournaments and three NITs, and he won 22 or more games in each of his last four seasons. He is in the middle of trying to rebuild a program that was very inconsistent under Paul Hewitt.
Georgia Tech isn’t a team that is known for their ability to score, averaging just 65.6 points per game. Only one player on their roster averages in double figures.
G Mfon Udofia (6-2, 195, Sr.): Udofia is a very experienced player who averages 9.9 points per game, and he leads Georgia Tech in assists with 45. He is a 38% shooter from three-point range.
G Brandon Reed (6-3, 182, r-Jr.): Reed is a starter, but only averages 18.8 minutes and 5.6 points per game. He shoots just 34.1% from the field.
G Marcus Georges-Hunt (6-5, 218, Fr.): Georgia Tech’s leading scorer at 10.9 points per game, he also averages 4.5 boards. Georges-Hunt is not a great shooter, but he’s a big guard who can score inside.
F Robert Carter, Jr. (6-8, 245, Fr.): Carter averages 9.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He’s a talented freshman frontcourt player who averages just over 25 minutes per game.
C Daniel Miller (6-11, 257, r-Jr.): Miller is a big center who averages 7.4 points and 6.2 rebounds. He leads Georgia Tech with 33 blocked shots. He also has an impressive 28 assists in 14 games, while committing just 15 turnovers.
F Kammeon Holsey (6-8, 231, r-Jr.): Holsey averages 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. He is a veteran player, and although he doesn’t start this year, he has plenty of past starting experience.
G Chris Bolden (6-3, 209, Fr.): Bolden is playing nearly 19 minutes per game for Georgia Tech. He is struggling from the floor, shooting just 23.8% from three-point range and 33.3% overall.
Obviously this is a team that struggles offensively. The Yellow Jackets shoot just 42.6% from the field, and only 29.7% from three-point range. However, they will be facing a Virginia Tech team that hasn’t been able to stop anyone recently.
A Chance for a Win?
Boston College, a team that will likely finish at or near the bottom of the ACC, defeated Virginia Tech by double-digits in Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night. That was a game the Hokies were expected to win, and it’s the type of game they need to win if they want to finish out of the cellar. However, their defense continued to be poor, and they couldn’t get it done, even in the friendly confines of Cassell Coliseum.
Georgia Tech ranks only #149 nationally in offensive efficiency. However, the Hokies come in at only #242 in defensive efficiency. Virginia Tech just has the look of a team that will struggle to stop anybody from scoring the rest of the season. The Hokies will have to rely on their offense, with Erick Green carrying the load. However, unless Green gets consistency from the players around him, that won’t do much good.
While the Yellow Jackets are extremely average offensively, they have been very good on the defensive end. Brian Gregory’s team ranks #15 in the nation in defensive efficiency, and you can bet that they’ll focus on keeping Erick Green out of the lane. Also, will Robert Brown be available after missing Wednesday’s game with the flue? We don’t know yet, and even if he is available, how healthy is he?
Tech will be playing on the road against an excellent defensive team that will be looking for their first win. The Yellow Jackets will be a solid favorite to win this one.