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Previewing Georgia Tech

A win against Georgia Tech ensures the Pack a winning record over this tough early stretch.

Georgia Tech offense...
(Four Factors)

Georgia Tech Offense 05-06Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%50.8109Turnover Rate23.9255Off Reb Rate41.212FTM/FGA25.6139

This is the worst offense in the ACC (162nd in the country). It's a good thing they can rebound (Are there any poor offensive rebounding teams in this damn league? Aside from the Pack, of course.). Georgia Tech is not at all reliant on three-pointers, and among ACC teams, only Maryland has a lower 3FGA/FGA ratio. The reasons for that will become clear once I get into discussing the starters.

It's going to be beneficial to put some pressure on Tech's guards, because those guys are looking for any excuse to give the ball away (seems like it, anyway). Although none of NC State's guards are proficient at stealing the ball, they should still force a good number of mistakes out of Tech's backcourt.

Part of the turnover problem probably stems from the fact that Georgia Tech remains one of the faster-paced teams in the conference.

Probable Starters (stats reference):

Zam Fredrick (6-0, 209) -- Where possessions go to die. In addition to being a poor shooter, Fredrick turns the ball over like crazy. Not that the Jackets have a lot of options, but I'm thinking Fredrick probably shouldn't be second on the team in field goal attempts.

D'Andre Bell (6-5, 200) -- An injury to Mario West has forced Bell into the lineup, and this has been a terrible exchange from an efficiency standpoint. Bell's poor turnover rate joins Fredrick's to form Georgia Tech's All-"My Bad!" backcourt. Bell does not factor into the offense too much, and that's a good thing (his PPWS = yikes).

Anthony Morrow (6-5, 205) -- Averaging 21.0 pts/40 on 57.2% (that's eFG%, mind you) shooting. He's pretty much Georgia Tech's only weapon from the outside (42.9% from behind the arc), as the Jackets have only two other guys who have attempted 10+ three-pointers--and neither of those two guys are shooting above 30% from long distance.

Jeremis Smith (6-6, 232) -- Despite being just 6-6, Smith is the best rebounder on the team and one of the best rebounders in the ACC. His value hardly ends there, though. Smith averages 18.0 pts/40 on 54.7% (eFG% again) shooting and maintains a good turnover rate (17.6%). Smith is the only starter aside from Morrow with an O Rtg above 100 (Offensive Rating is akin to OFF EFF for teams; i.e., pts produced per 100 possessions. More here). He also does a great job of getting to the line (9.4 FTA/40 min), but only hits about 54% of his free throws.

Ra'Sean Dickey (6-9, 255) -- Shooting and rebounding well, but his turnover rate (29.4%) is obscene. I like Dickey's game a lot, and once he cuts down on his turnovers, he'll become a much bigger asset for the Jackets.

Bench:

Injuries haven't helped matters for the Jackets this season. In addition to Mario West's ailment, Lewis Clinch (6-3, 190) suffered a stress fracture in his leg back in December. Neither of those guys were expected to be available at this point; however, Clinch was back in the lineup for Tech's win over Boston College. West is still sidelined (hurt widdle toe).

And let's not forget that Theodis Tarver (6-9, 245) was recently ruled academically ineligible.

So will anyone actually come off of the bench? Probably. But this assumes that no one gets hit by a piano or an errant Zam Fredrick pass between today and Saturday.

Paco Diaw (6-6, 190) and Alade Aminu (6-9, 210) will get some minutes along with Clinch. Note that Diaw, Aminu and Clinch are freshmen. Aminu's been a good rebounder in limited minutes; none of the three have good shooting percentages. I'd expect to see about 15-20 minutes from each of these three guys. Clinch could play more, but I think Hewitt would be uncomfortable extending the other two.

Defense...

Georgia Tech Defense 05-06Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%45.339Turnover Rate21.3190Off Reb Rate28.446FTA/FGA40.3235

The Jackets do at least play solid defense (7th ACC, 47th nationally). Second chance opportunities are going to be sparse for us. Considering how foul-prone the Yellow Jackets appear to be, it would be nice to see the Pack play a little more aggressively than usual. We could earn a lot trips to the line, not to mention that we'd love to see as much of the Georgia Tech bench as possible.

OFF EFF / DEF EFF / DIFF

Tech: 99.9 / 91.1 / 8.8
NCSU: 113.9 / 90.1 / 23.8