How to watch or listen to the game
Tip time: 6:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, Jan. 15
TV: ESPNU (Anish Shroff, Cory Alexander)
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Radio: Wolfpack Sports Network (affiliates)
Georgia Tech vitals
Record: 10-6 (2-2)
Pomeroy ranking: 128
Best win***: 75-63 over UNC (No. 7 in Pomeroy Ratings)
Worst loss***: 67-61 to Ohio (No. 83 in Pomeroy Ratings)
(***Based on opponent's Pomeroy Rating, not margin of victory/defeat.)
Adjusted tempo: 68.2 poss/40 minutes (ranks 239th)
Adjusted offensive efficiency: 100.7 (ranks 243rd)
Adjusted defensive efficiency: 96.8 (ranks 47th)
The GT offense and starters
|GT Offense -- Four Factors||eFG%||TO%||OR%||FT Rate|
|2016-17 overall (nat'l rank)||45.7 (306)||20.3 (283)||32.4 (102)||40.1 (67)
|2016-17 ACC only (ACC rank)||41.5 (15)||19.9 (13)||29.0 (10)||40.2 (5)|
Georgia Tech has had a confused start to ACC play, beating UNC and Clemson at home by identical 75-63 scores, and also getting blown out by a million at Duke. The Yellow Jackets have managed to crack 1.0 points per trip in only one of their four league games--this is a team that needs its defense to be solid in order to win, and against Duke, for example, the bottom fell out at both ends of the floor.
The Yellow Jackets' offense finished last season at No. 38 in adjusted offensive efficiency, but the 2016 Jackets were also one of the oldest teams in the country. They lost their top four scorers to graduation, all four of them starters, and five rotation players in total. There are not many programs that can recover from that type of personnel loss.
So new head coach Josh Pastner inherited an empty cupboard and it is showing. Tech's offense ranks 243rd in offensive efficiency this year, a drop of more than 200 spots. The problem, as you can tell above, boils down to poor shooting, but more specifically, Georgia Tech's problem is that it is completely one-dimensional.
Tech was not exactly flush with perimeter scoring threats last season, and its most credible outside shooters--Marcus Georges-Hunt, Adam Smith--are gone. A team that was already averse to three-point attempts is now extremely averse to threes. Only 20.8% of the Jackets' attempts this season have been threes. That proportion ranks 350th out of 351 D-I schools. The national average is 36.2%.
This is a below-average outside shooting team, so it is wise to shy away from threes to some degree. Thing is, though, Georgia Tech ain't any good at making twos, either. They're ignoring the most efficient shot in basketball, probably a little too much, even for them. They are instead focusing on a lot of the least efficient shots in basketball, and they're only hitting 45% inside the arc. That is a rough combination.
At this point you may be confused as to how Georgia Tech has a pair of 12-point wins over NCAA tournament teams, and so am I, man, so am I. But we know the ACC is exceptionally deep, and we've learned that winning on the road is going to be extremely difficult. Just about every team has learned that lesson just a handful of games into league play.
Justin Moore (6-4, 162) -- Truly an impressive crafter of bricks, as he is shooting only 46.9% at the stripe, 43.3% from two, and is 1-6 from three. He has a good assist rate, at least, but the rest is gross. To his credit, he is not taking a ton of shots, but the freshman struggle is on full display here.
Tadric Jackson (6-2, 209) -- I always want to call him Tantric Jackson. Now that would be a sweet-ass name right there. I bet Tantric Jackson would be a way better basketball player too. Give Tadric credit: this is a man who stares blatant reality in the face and inexplicably wins. As a freshman, he shot 16-89 (18%) from three. Sixteen out of damned 89! Was he deterred? Heck no. The next season, he shot 18-65 (27.7%). Still bad, still perhaps an indicator of one's limitations, but hey, improvement. This season? He is 19-44 (43.2%), making him the most effective outside shooter on the team. And this is a fluke most likely, so Tech's three-point shooting is likely to get even worse. Anyway, let us all give Tadric a round of applause--he spat in the face of his own obvious limitations, and for now at least, he is victorious.
Josh Okogie (6-4, 207) -- If you were to look simply at Okogie's 14 PPG average, you would think he's having a nice freshman year. And to be fair, he's not been terrible, but he's taking a ton of shots to get those 14 points. He's only 8-28 from three and has made only 43.6% of his twos. He has shown a knack for using his frame to draw fouls and he's been solid defensively.
Quinton Stephens (6-9, 196) -- Quinton Stephens has spent an eternity at Georgia Tech toiling in averageishness. It's impressive in its own unfortunate Georgia Tech basketball way. When he's dead and gone, his headstone will read "Here lies Quinton Stephens, who attempted some shots in basketball a while back."
Ben Lammers (6-10, 227) -- The bright spot for the Jackets is Lammers, who is in the midst of a breakout campaign. He spent is first two seasons in Atlanta as a bench player who rarely took shots, and now he is the linchpin of the entire offense. Both his minutes and his workload have skyrocketed, to no ill effect to his efficiency. He is shooting 80% at the line this year and is a career 58.3% scorer in the paint. Blocks a lot of shots, rebounds well at both ends. Really good player.
The GT bench and defense
Reserves: Josh Heath (6-2, 175), Corey Heyward (6-1, 212), Abdoulaye Gueye (6-9, 212). Georgia Tech is unlikely to get much offense from this trio, as they are not only poor shooters, but they are also deferential, tertiary options. Gueye is raw and foul-prone but probably necessary for some minutes defensively. Heyward at least has a decent career three-point shooting percentage (35.0) but shoots so rarely you'd hardly notice.
|GT Defense -- Four Factors||eFG%||TO%||OR%||FT Rate|
|2016-17 overall (nat'l rank)||45.5 (32)||19.2 (153)||33.6 (307)||27.4 (37)|
|2016-17 ACC only (ACC rank)||48.3 (4)||16.4 (14)||37.5 (14)||26.7 (5)|
Georgia Tech's defense is good because it does one very basic thing well: it shuts down the paint. Opponents have made only 42.6% of their two-point attempts this season (national average on twos is 48.9%). The Jackets' defense is one of the best in the country at blocking shots. NC State, by the way, is the second best team in the country at avoiding blocks. Something's gotta give!
Shooting trumps all, which is why Tech's defense is well above average despite their poor defensive rebounding and average turnover rate. Gotta make shots. That's the key every night, the rest is just in the margins--some of it prominent, mind you, but still secondary.
When you consider that Tech's offense shoots 45.7% and limits opponents to 45.5% shooting, you can't help but tip your cap to a team that creates bricks at an insatiable rate. This Georgia Tech team does not mind playing in the mud.
KenPom has State by nine.