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Georgia Tech is experienced, and better, and not going anywhere worth mention

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

How to watch or listen to the game

Tip time: 8 ET, Wednesday, Jan. 27

TV: ACC Network (Mike Gleason, Cory Alexander) -- affiliates

Online streamingESPN3

Radio: Wolfpack Sports Network (affiliates)

Georgia Tech vitals

Record: 11-8 (1-5)
RPI: 68
Pomeroy ranking: No. 59
Best win***: 68-64 over Virginia (KenPom No. 8)
Worst loss: 69-68 to East Tennessee State (KenPom No. 161)

(***Best win or loss based on opponent's Pomeroy Rating, not the scoring margin.)

Adjusted tempo: 68.4 poss/40 minutes (ranks 214th)
Adjusted offensive efficiency: 110.7 (ranks 47th)
Adjusted defensive efficiency: 99.7 (ranks 102nd)

GT roster
GT schedule
GT stats 2015 2016

The Georgia Tech offense and starters

GT Offense -- Four Factors eFG% (National Rank) TO% OR% FT Rate
2014-15 44.4 (329) 19.6 (208) 38.7 (10) 31.1 (317)
2015-16 50.1 (155) 14.9 (12) 37.5 (18) 31.5 (293)

More and more, transfers are becoming a way of life--and self-preservation--in college basketball. Graduate transfers have been crucial to Louisville's success this season. Mark Gottfried has relied heavily on transfers during his career at NC State. Transfers have also helped Georgia Tech rebound from a dreadful (and unlucky) 2015 season, perhaps saving Brian Gregory's job in the process.

The Yellow Jackets have five transfer players in their rotation, led by Adam Smith (Virginia Tech, UNCW) and Nick Jacobs (Alabama). Those two are assuming significant roles in the offense, and Smith not surprisingly has been an excellent jump shooter, if not much else. Charles Mitchell (Maryland), James White (Arkansas-Little Rock), and Josh Heath (USF) have also been important contributors for the Jackets.

With those transfers in the fold, Gregory has a rare amount of experience at his disposal. The Jackets have seven upperclassmen in their rotation, including five seniors. (This does not bode well for Gregory's future, but that's another story for another website at another time.)

Georgia Tech is better with the added support, but even so, this season is looking like a waste. Tech is good enough to be a bubble team, but the results have not been there. The early ACC schedule wasn't exactly forgiving, and Georgia Tech did itself no favors by losing to Virginia Tech at home.

With the way the roster is constructed, this year felt like a bit of an all-or-fired gambit on Gregory's part, which may prove true. It could still work out, but a deeper ACC is not a factor working in his favor. But the offense is better, at least!

Georgia Tech has been the best three-point shooting team in league play, though the Jackets don't typically attempt a lot of threes. For the season, they're shooting 37% from outside, which underscores Adam Smith's impact. That's helped them overcome some mediocre shooting inside the arc. Contributions from the frontcourt are still kind of, just, you know, okay.

Aside from an increase in overall shooting accuracy, the big change for Tech has been in the turnover category. Some of the team's primary contributors have been better about taking care of the ball this season, while the team has also benefited from the demotion of guard Travis Jorgenson, whose primary use is as halftime t-shirt gun.


Josh Heath (6-2, 179) -- Low-usage player, which is to say that he is the good ol' "pass-first" (that means he's not very good at basketball) point guard. Very nice assist rate, but it comes with a high turnover rate. He doesn't have much shooting range.

Adam Smith (6-1, 165) -- I like the idea of a kid who transfers constantly, but only from one Tech to another. He starts and Virginia Tech, he heads to Georgia Tech, he moves on to Cal Tech, then he decides he prefers hockey and goes to Michigan Tech. Adam Smith is halfway there, is all I'm saying.

Regardless of where he plays, Smith's profile doesn't change. He takes a ton of jump shots, and he is an exceptional three-point shooter. His career 3FG% (39.1) ain't that far off from his career 2FG% (41.6). As usual, he profiles as a jumper-heavy two-guard: low assist rate, low turnover rate, low free throw rate.

Marcus Georges-Hunt (6-5, 216) -- Quietly having a career year in his usual bent, slashin' to the basket and taking enough threes to keep folks honest. He is taking full advantage of the rule changes in college hoops with career highs in free throw rate and free throw shooting percentage.

Charles Mitchell (6-8, 256) -- Still an absolute monster on the glass, and a decent scorer in the paint.

Nick Jacobs (6-8, 262) -- Good rebounder at both ends, good shot blocker. Career 51.7% shooter inside the arc, and he's been a high-workload guy for most of his career. Good player, but maybe not one you really want consuming quite so many possessions.

The Georgia Tech bench and defense

Reserves: Quinton Stephens (6-9, 203), James White (6-8, 226), Travis Jorgenson (6-0, 184), Ben Lammers (6-10, 231), Tadric Jackson (6-2, 209). Stephens is a decent three-point option off the bench. White is having an outstanding year rebounding the ball at the offensive end, but shouldn't factor much into the offense otherwise. Jorgenson's cut down on the turnovers but still can't shoot. Tadric Jackson should never, ever be allowed to shoot a basketball. Ben Lammers has fouls to give, and probably some rebounds to grab.

GT Defense -- Four Factors eFG% (National Rank) TO% OR% FT Rate
2014-15 49.2 (175) 18.0 (239) 25.8 (18) 33.8 (109)
2015-16 48.3 (121) 14.6 (338) 26.2 (38) 34.4 (131)

The reason why Georgia Tech's gains this season have been relatively minor: while the offense has improved about 160 spots, the defense has dipped about 70. That's a positive net, but it ain't enough to make a significant difference for a team in this not-bad-but-not-good position. If Georgia Tech had managed another top-30 defense this year, then the Jackets would really be on to something.

Instead, the Jackets are suffering through more pronounced systemic issues. The defensive rebounding is holding up, and that's great, but Tech has been far worse at forcing turnovers, and its interior defense is an ongoing struggle. In league games, the Jackets are giving up 1.12 points per possession (13th out of 15), and they're dead last in TO% and FT Rate.

The latter number might be the biggest tell--Georgia Tech held up fine in free throw rate during the non-conference season. Granted, there are schedule considerations here, but the trends don't spew forth a lot of optimism, in any case.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by three.