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NC State must find some way, any way, to slow Georgia Tech’s paint production

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I’m getting kind of tired of losing to these guys.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at N.C. State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech has gotten the better of NC State in three straight games, two of those in Raleigh. I can’t say I saw Josh Pastner’s club developing into a nemesis for the Wolfpack, but here we are, and damn if it ain’t annoying as hell.

Sometimes it feels like the Jackets were constructed specifically to create problems for NC State—kind of like Roy Williams’ UNC teams most years. Georgia Tech plays good defense and protects the interior effectively, and that can be serious trouble for an average perimeter-scoring team like State.

Georgia Tech has also gotten heroic scoring efforts from big man James Banks in each of the last two meetings. He shot 16-22 over those two contests, and led by that effort, Tech won on the strength of its paint production.

So the first step to exacting a little payback seemingly would be to get Banks from playing like a superhero up front. Georgia Tech shot 63.2% on twos in the game at the tail end of the 2019 season, then hit 58.5% in the game to begin this one. Of course, D.J. Funderburk was absent in the latter, but NC State may be down Manny Bates this time around, which is sapping some of my optimism.

The Jackets have been an average shooting team at best against the majority of their opponents, but their advantages in terms of size and strength have paid off significantly for them against the Pack. That could be the case again.

Georgia Tech was turnover-prone in the last two meetings, turning it over at least 22% of the team on both occasions. Tech also managed little on the offensive boards—it’s not a good offensive rebounding team, surprisingly enough. So slowing the Jackets down in the paint, at least getting them down closer to 50% shooting on twos, really might be all it takes to flip the next meeting in NC State’s favor.

How reasonable is it to expect that much after what we’ve seen lately, though?