Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Preview
Date: Wednesday, December 4th
Time: 6:15 pm CST/7:15 pm EST
Location: McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta, GA
2018-19 Record: 14-18 (6-12 10th in Atlantic Coast Conference)
2019-20 Record: 3-2 (1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference)
All-Time Series Record: 0-1 Georgia Tech hosted the Nebraska Cornhuskers December 28, 1983 and got the win 66-49
1930 Ford Model A Sport coupe Buzz, the Yellow Jacket that has evolved to possess arms
Head Coach: Josh Pastner (4th season, 50-55)
Odds: Nebraska +9.5
How To Watch: ESPNU
If 14-18 wasn’t obvious enough to you all: Georgia Tech stunk last year. While Nebraska’s 17-16 record wasn’t much better at first glance, the Huskers SOS was 39th and their RPI was 93 compared to Tech’s 152nd RPI ranking on a 69th ranked SOS. They lost to freaking Northwestern (196th RPI) in the B1G-ACC challenge for crying out loud (the same Wildcats team that would go on to lose 12 of their final 13 games, including two losses to Illinois). They only had two wins over opponents with an RPI over 100, one at NC State (97th) and one at Syracuse (38th, and this was before the program had off-court tragedy that might have been a distraction). After that, the nicest thing you can say about them is they had a pulse in a close loss to Virginia Tech at home and on the road to St. John’s.
Currently Georgia Tech sits at 3-2 overall, 82nd in RPI, 72nd in KenPom, and 83rd in BPI. While Tech has what would most certainly be considered respectable losses by four at in-state rival Georgia and at home by one to Arkansas, they also include the less than ideal three point win Sunday night over Bethune-Cookman (284th in KenPom). Then again, they have a one point season opening win on the road at conference foe NC State (44th in KenPom).
One stat that stands out for these Yellow Jackets the Huskers will need to take advantage of is turnovers. Tech hasn’t kept them lower than 13 in their games so far this season. Their best game was Bethune-Cookman with only 12, while Arkansas came into Atlanta and saw Tech give it up 23 times for their season worst thus far. On the season, they’re averaging 17.2 turnovers as a result.
Elsewhere Georgia Tech is averaging 8 blocks a game, and with their penchant for zone defense at times, expect shots on the basket via lay-ups to be hard to come by for the Husker’s offense. Also something not to look past for the offense is the 6.4 steals per game Tech averages.
As for players on the roster to be aware of, 6’5” sophomore guard Michael Devoe leads the Yellow Jackets with 23.4 points per game and is shooting 65% from three on 20 attempts so far this season. Also of note will be 6’10” 250lb. senior forward James Banks III who is the leading rebounder with 9.6 boards per game, is the second leading scorer with 13.4 points, and leads the team in blocks at 5.2 per game. Finally, Moses Wright is third in scoring with 10 points per game, and second in rebounds with 7.8 boards per game.
Coach Pastner likes to run a varying, high-intensity defense, changing between man and zone sets frequently. Expect this to be a tough match-up for the Huskers in keeping their offense flowing and getting points on the board.
This Georgia Tech team has faced some pretty stiff competition, on the road for some as well, and come up just short. In comparison, our Huskers have faced some absolute cupcakes at home and some more middling competition on neutral courts and come up short. I’m afraid this doesn’t leave me too optimistic for their chances here in a hostile road environment against a solid team. Let’s call the final for this one Yellow Jackets 88-Huskers 72.