As we approach the re-match with Georgia Tech, I caught up with BirdGT at From The Rumble Seat. Turns out he doesn't know what the hell happened in Raleigh either. Personally I expect it to happen again, whatever it was.
1.) What's the best way to slow down Glen Rice?
The best way to slow down Glen Rice is to slow down his teammates. Tech is a very turnover heavy squad this season. If State can apply a lot of pressure in the 1st half and force some turnovers, they will easily negate Rice's scoring. Tech has the 4th worst A:T ratio in conference play and the 3rd most turnovers in 2012 ACC play. Unfortunately, Tech's primary handlers outside of GRJ, Mfon Udofia, Jason Morris, and Brandon Reed, have a combined assist:turnover ratio of 39:54. Press those three and Tech will give State some easy transition points.
The other frustrating aspect of GRJ's game is that he doesn't come on strong in the first half. He makes out like a bandit in a riot in the second half when the games are either close and Tech needs clutch shots or when Tech is down big and no one is guarding him. The first half is a mystery. Since December 22nd's win over Alabama A&M, Tech has gone 2-10 and been outscored by about 7 points in the first half. The only leads Tech had at the half in any of those games were NC State, FSU, and BC where Tech went 2-1.
2.) What are some differences you've seen--good or bad--in Brian Gregory's first year?
Gregory appears to be a pretty upbeat coach considering how rough the season's been. He hasn't let his team quit as we've seen some damn good efforts against some upper tier ACC squads (notably NC State and Duke). We've also seen some duds where Tech had its doors blown off at the get go in Alabama, UVA, and UNC and then we've seen some games where Tech got handled after the half in FSU and Maryland. It's been a crazy year but CBG keeps bouncing back. Tech fans really appreciate his understanding of the Georgia rivalry. Gregory was the first Tech coach to win in Athens in 13 attempts. His coaching effort at NC State was excellent considering Raleigh was Paul Hewitt's white whale. So, Tech fans are optimistic but still unsure of the longterm-ness of CBG.
3.) What's a realistic time frame for building Georgia Tech back into an ACC contender? Is the foundation on this current team?
I tallied up the ACC's top minute getters (17 or more minutes in ACC play). There are 77 different guys are on all 12 teams. Then, I weighted the minutes based on class and came up with the following rankings based on a freshman = 1, sophomore = 2, junior = 3, and senior = 4:
#12 BC (1.47), #11 Maryland (2.12), #10 GT (2.21), #9 VT (2.56), #7 UNC (2.61), #7 Wake (2.61), #6 Duke (2.63), #5 Miami (2.77), #4 UVA (2.87), #3 NC State (2.93), #2 Clemson (3.22), #1 FSU (3.34).
GT is at the bottom of the pack in terms of veteran minutes. Tech will need a couple years to recruit new talent and develop some veterans under Gregory's tutelage. Give us two years and I think Tech's current talented youngsters and incoming group of studs will be a force to reckoned with (ala this season's UVA).
4.) I was under the impression that the Jackets don't shoot very well, and then the game in Raleigh happened. Were they dipping into some untapped potential in that game or was that a total fluke?
Tech is not a good shooting team but apparently some lights came on. Perhaps the team had Lily's the night before and channeled their inner Julius Hodges (minus the annoying Herb Sendek offense). We don't know what happened that game because it hasn't really happened since so we'll say Brian Gregory found a critical flaw in the NC State defense that will be exploited again in Atlanta. Tech's on its best roll in ACC play this season so I hope the Wolfpack is ready. Win streak here we come!