TV: RSN (Check your local listings)
Virginia Tech travels to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon. Both teams appear to be improved from last season, and the Hokies will attempt to run their ACC record to 4-1.
Like VT, the Yellow Jackets are 11-6 overall. However, they are just 1-3 in conference play because they haven’t been able to close out tight games. They lost to UNC 86-78, Pitt 89-84 and Notre Dame 72-64. They did defeat Virginia 68-64 in Atlanta, and they also beat VCU 77-64 earlier this season.
Here’s how Georgia Tech ranks in some key areas…
Offensive Efficiency: #44
Defensive Efficiency: #175
Offensive Rebounding Rate: #17
Total Rebounding Rate: #17
Turnovers per Possession: #10
Opp. Turnovers per Possession: #339
The Yellow Jackets have been a very efficient offensive team this year, and much of that has to do with their low turnover rate and their ability to get offensive rebounds and score second chance points. Let’s see how the Hokies match up…
Offensive Efficiency: #116
Defensive Efficiency: #90
Offensive Rebounding Rate: #57
Total Rebounding Rate: #123
Turnovers per Possession: #130
Opp. Turnovers per Possession: #74
Virginia Tech’s rebounding numbers have been falling recently as they’ve faced bigger and more athletic teams, but their turnover numbers have been moving up. In thier three ACC wins, the Hokies have committed just 18 turnovers while forcing 43. That more than any other statistic has Buzz Williams’ team off to a 3-1 start in conference play.
Here’s what Georgia Tech’s starting lineup could look like…
G Josh Heath (6-2, 179, Jr.): 3.5 ppg, 70 assists, 19 turnovers
G Adam Smith (6-1, 165, r-Sr.): 14.8 ppg, 46.2% 3Pt., only 12 turnovers
G Marcus Georges-Hunt (6-5, 216, Sr.): 14.8 ppg, 89-of-116 (80.2%) FT
F Nick Jacobs (6-8, 262, r-Sr.): 10.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg
F Charles Mitchell (6-8, 256, Sr.): 12.6 ppg, 11.4 rpg
Heath and Smith have combined for just 31 turnovers this season, and that’s a big part of why the Yellow Jackets are an improved basketball team. This will also be one of the most experienced teams the Hokies face this year.
Georgia Tech’s lineup is unique in that it features a ton of transfers…
Adam Smith: Virginia Tech
Charles Mitchell: Maryland
Nick Jacobs: Alabama
Josh Heath: South Florida (son of former South Florida head coach Stan Heath)
The Hokies haven’t been particularly good in some of their games at getting through ball screens and closing out on shooters. Look for Georgia Tech to try to pound the ball inside with Charles Mitchell to try to force Virginia Tech to double down. That could free up the dangerous Adam Smith from the outside.
Turnovers will obviously be critical in this game. Georgia Tech doesn’t turn it over much at all, but if the Hokies can manage to come out ahead in this area again, they will have an opportunity to win the game.