No. 7 Virginia Tech Faces Georgia Tech In Atlanta

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Josh Pastner Georgia Tech vs Virginia Tech
Josh Pastner has his Georgia Tech team playing very good defense, and they’ll host Virginia Tech tonight. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech
Date: Wednesday, January 9
Time: 7pm
TV: RSN (Affiliate List)

No. 7/No. 9 Virginia Tech will head south to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in an ACC matchup in Atlanta on Wednesday night.  The Hokies (13-1, 2-0) will be looking to notch another win heading into next week’s big matchup with No. 1/No. 4 Virginia.

Georgia Tech (9-5, 1-0) is coached by former Memphis head man Josh Pastner.  His first team in 2016-17 surprised people by going 21-16 and making the NIT Finals, but the Yellow Jackets dropped to 13-19 last season.  They appear to be a bit better this season, and they’ve had some quality losses in the non-conference portion of their schedule, and one pretty solid win.  The rankings below are Ken Pomeroy’s ratings…

No. 5 Tennessee: 66-53 L
No. 49 Northwestern: 67-61 L
No. 40 St. John’s: 76-73 L
No. 173 Gardner-Webb: 79-69 L
No. 51 Arkansas: 69-65 W
No. 113 Georgia: 70-59 L

They played two solid squads tough in Northwestern and St. John’s, and they knocked off a pretty good Arkansas team.  However, that Arkansas win was bookended by losses to Gardner-Webb and Georgia.  The Razorbacks remain their best win of the season.  Their second-best win came against No. 159 Wake Forest, who has proved to be quite inept under head coach Danny Manning, who is likely to be job hunting come mid-March.

Georgia Tech’s issues this year have been on the offensive end.  Check out the following numbers…

Ken Pomeroy’s Offensive Efficiency: No. 203
Effective FG%: No. 167
Turnover Rate: No. 236
Assist-TO Ratio: No. 126

Georgia Tech’s offense is hindered by the fact that they turn the ball over far too much, and even when they don’t turn it over, they either can’t get good looks, or they just aren’t a good shooting team.  Here’s how Virginia Tech’s defensive numbers compare…

Ken Pomeroy’s Defensive Efficiency: No. 37
Opp. Effective FG%: No. 57
Opp. Turnovers per Possession: No. 11
Opp. Assist-TO Ratio: No. 31

Virginia Tech holds a distinct advantage on this end of the court.  Though Georgia Tech did score 92 points in their most recent game against Wake Forest, that’s more due to the fact that the Demon Deacons rank No. 213 in Pomeroy’s defensive metrics, and have struggled to stop anybody during the entirety of Danny Manning’s tenure.

However, Virginia Tech will face one of the best defensive teams they’ve faced all season.  Here are the Yellow Jackets’ defensive numbers…

Ken Pomeroy’s Defensive Efficiency: No. 21
Opp. Effective FG%: No. 10
Opp. Turnovers per Possession: No. 59
Opp. Assist-TO Ratio: No. 65

Statistically speaking, the Jackets have been slightly more efficient on the defensive end than the Hokies.  They don’t force as many turnovers as the Hokies, but they are a bit better in their traditional halfcourt defense, thought that certainly doesn’t take away from the defensive improvements of Buzz Williams’ team.

This will be Virginia Tech’s biggest challenge offensively to date.  Georgia Tech held Pomeroy’s No. 4 offense, Tennessee, to just 66 points.  The Hokies come in ranked No. 5 in Pomeroy’s offensive ratings.  Here’s how the Hokies stack up…

Ken Pomeroy’s Offensive Efficiency: No. 5
Effective FG%: No. 1
Turnover Rate: No. 84
Assist-TO Ration: No. 11

Were it not for a somewhat high turnover rate, there’s a good chance the Hokies would be No. 1 nationally in Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive efficiency ratings.  The No. 5 ranking is still very good, despite the turnovers.

Ten different players have started games for Georgia Tech this season.  That’s one more than the nine scholarship players Virginia Tech will have available for tonight’s game.  They have two players who average in double figures…

G Jose Alvarado (6-0, 176, So.): 13.1 ppg, 46 assists.  Alvarado is the team’s leading scorer.  He only shoots 24.7% from three-point range.

G Brandon Alston (6-5, 203, r-Sr.): 10.4 ppg.  Alston is Georgia Tech’s best outside shooter at 41.5%, though they don’t shoot a lot of three-pointers.

The focus of Virginia Tech’s defense is to stop the ball from entering the paint, and they’ve been very successful at that this season.  For Georgia Tech, they rank No. 330 in the country in percentage of their points from three-point range, so the Jackets prefer to get the ball inside.  If the Hokies can force the Jackets into a three-point contest, that will take them out of their comfort zone.

Georgia Tech is a very similar team to Penn State, statistically.  The Nittany Lions rank No. 19 in Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency, but No. 152 offensively.  The Hokies are going on the road to face a very tough, gritty defensive team that is limited offensively.  The last time that happened, Tech lost to Penn State 63-62.  They’ll have to take the lessons learned in Happy Valley and apply them to tonight’s game.

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10 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I would be curious to know the team’s travel logistics for a game in Atlanta – I assume they fly? How many non-players travel with the team, i.e., coaches, trainers, etc., and when would they leave to make the trip? Anyone know?

    1. Here’s what happens:

      Fly from Roanoke on a chartered plane yesterday, after classes. They will return right after the game with and arrive around 11pm to midnight. All coaches, trainers, some Hokie Club personnel, and some guests.

  2. I find this comment a bit too offensive. “This will be Virginia Tech’s biggest offensive challenge offensively to date.”

      1. Well, after watching the game you may have needed one more offensive struggle mention in that sentence. Tough game for our Hokies and nicely researched article.

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