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Taking Another Look At Georgia Tech

Scouting Report

In the first meeting, Georgia Tech had one of its best offensive performances of the season...but NC State still won.

What's interesting is how much of an aberration Tech's performance in Raleigh has turned out to be. Here are Tech's five most efficient games in conference play, sorted by offensive efficiency (Pts/100 possessions):

1) at NCSU -- 112.7
2) vs BC -- 103.3
3) at FSU -- 100.9
4) at Wake -- 98.5
5) at BC -- 97.4

Georgia Tech's average OFF EFF in 10 conference games is 96.5. While I was compiling that list just now, it occurred to me that the four Tech opponents are the ACC's four worst defenses. It isn't surprising that their best offensive games came against bad defenses; it is telling, though, that the Jackets were so mediocre against the league's swiss cheese. The Jackets couldn't even hit 100 (referring to offensive efficiency) against Wake Forest, and the Deacs are allowing an average OFF EFF of 116 in conference play.

Turnovers continue to be a big part of the problem for Georgia Tech--it is one of the most turnover-prone teams in the ACC. The Jackets' season TO% (.251) ranks 311th in the nation; their TO% in ACC games is 26.9%. They've had a turnover rate over 30% four times in conference play...that is a lot of wasted possessions.

As we know by now, however, NC State is not likely to take advantage of this weakness. The Jackets had a TO% of 15.8% in the first meeting, which is the only occasion in nine conference games that they've managed to stay under 20%.

Georgia Tech's offensive struggles are reflected in the individual numbers. Frederick and Clinch have O Rtgs below 90 in ACC play, Dickey and Smith are right around 100, while Morrow leads the regulars with a modest 108 O Rtg.

Dickey is making 63.1% (eFG%) of his shots in conference play, which puts him among the league leaders. I think you can guess what's killing his overall efficiency...

Anthony Morrow remains the guy we have to be the most concerned with. He's hit 43.9% of his threes in-conference. By the way, why didn't NC State recruit Morrow (who is from NC)? I assume grades weren't an issue. Was he just under the radar? He'd be such a perfect player for NC State...

Mario West was one of the Jackets' numerous injuries early in the season, and he has since returned to the lineup. He adds experience, but he is playing a pretty minor role--and not playing it well.

I'm worried about a post-double OT hangover, and I will not be surprised if State shoots poorly in Atlanta. But the Jackets are so inefficient that a sub-par Wolfpack offense may still be adequate. I think Tech's performance in Raleigh represents the ceiling for this team: in addition to limiting its turnovers more than usual, it also shot well above its average eFG%. Those are two things that very rarely go well at the same time for the Jackets.

More often than not, Tech is a team that struggles to score 1.0 pts/possession, and I think that will be the case on Sunday; as long as we don't out-suck them, we'll be fine.