TV: ACC Network
Announcers: Steve Martin, Mike Gminski
The Pack is coming off a 6 day rest after beating Maryland 65-56 without TJ Warren who was sitting due to a sprained ankle suffered during the previous game against Duke. The good news, TJ Warren is expected to play today. The bad news is he isn’t 100%. The other Pack players, while they didn’t shoot very well, appeared to learn that if they played tough defense and actually took a shot instead of waiting to see what Warren was going to do. Hopefully this is a lesson that won’t need to be learned again and with the influx of Buckets back into the lineup this will be a better Pack squad than we’ve seen this year.
The Yellow Jackets aren’t very good on offense, in fact they are average at best but they are pretty good on defense. This style of play appears to be a trademark of Brian Gregory’s teams at GT, who is another of the 2012 class of new coaches in the ACC. The only place they appear to be struggling on defense is causing turnovers, which I know the Pack are thankful for, but are very good at rebounding and limiting opponents second chance opportunities, which isn’t a good sign though they are struggling with Carter Jr. out of the line-up.
Georgia Tech has been bitten by the injury bug (from their game notes):
• Tech has played its ACC games this season with as few as eight scholarship players, competing without four members of the team who had combined for 22 starts and were key parts of the rotation at the start of pre-season practice – forward Robert Carter, Jr., swingman Jason Morris, and guards Travis Jorgenson and Solomon Poole.
Morris returned to play at Boston College after missing two games with a concussion.
• The absence of Carter, Jr., has hurt Tech in several ways, most notably on the glass, where the Yellow Jackets have been beaten on the boards three times in the six games the ACC’s leading rebounder has missed. Tech had won the rebound battle against all 13 non-conference opponents this season.
• The absences of Poole (missed last four games) and Jorgenson (knee injury on Nov. 20) have led to increased playing time for red-shirt freshman Corey Heyward, who missed last season with a knee injury of his own.
• Tech faced Pitt and Miami without four of those players – forwards Robert Carter, Jr. (knee), and Jason Morris (concussion), and guards Travis Jorgenson (knee) and Solomon Poole (migraine). Morris returned for the Boston College game on Jan. 21.
• Tech has been without sophomore forward Robert Carter, Jr., No. 1 on the ACC rebounding chart as late as Jan. 18, for its last six games after he sustained a tear of the meniscus in his left knee during the Yellow Jackets’ game at Charlotte Dec. 29. Carter, Jr., underwent surgery Jan. 7 and it is not yet known whether he can return this season.
• This is the second significant injury Tech has sustained since the season began. Freshman guard Travis Jorgenson, who had averaged nearly 20 minutes a game off the bench and was becoming a key reserve as a point guard, was lost for the season with a torn ACL in the season’s fourth game.
• Morris missed the Pitt and Miami games after suffering a concussion in a traffic accident Jan. 11, four games after getting back in the starting lineup. He was sidelined for Tech’s first 10 games this season after surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot.
• Poole, who started five games early in the year, has missed the last four games with a migraine and other medical issues.
• The Carter, Jr., Poole and Morris absences all came on the heels of a rotational adjustment Tech’s coaching staff made during the Christmas break and implemented for the Charlotte game. Morris was inserted in the starting lineup in place of a struggling Chris Bolden. Freshmen Quinton Stephens and Corey Heyward were given more prominent backup roles in place of Stacey and Solomon Poole, respectively, who were also struggling.
#23 Trae Golden (6-2 205 SR) Guard
#30 Corey Heyward (6-1 221 R-FR) Guard
#3 Marcus Georges-Hunt (6-5 219 SO) G/F
#24 Kammeon Holsey (6-8 234 SR) Forward
#5 Daniel Miller (6-11 275 SR) Center
Heyward has been pushed into a position he’s not entirely ready for and while that benefits the Pack the remaining 4 starters aren’t bad. Holsey and Miller are large threats around the basket, neither has taken a 3 this season. Golden (a senior transfer from Tenn) and Hunt are more dangerous in their versatility inside and outside the arc and getting to the line.
#1 Stacey Poole (6-4 199 JR), #11 Chris Bolden (6-3 216 SO), #12 Quinton Stephens (6-8 184 FR), #14 Jason Morris (6-5 231 SR)
The Jackets are thin, extremely thin, when it comes to production due to their injuries. Stacey Poole and Bolden both have struggled this season and Morris hasn’t played much and has suffered a concussion this season. Looking at their ORatings Poole and Stephens are the only two who are putting up average numbers. Half of Bolden’s shots come from behind the arc and he’s shooting less than .300 from both so a soft coverage is okay if he gets the ball.
It’s no shock the Jackets have the edge in the 3 areas where the Pack are Facepalm awful. The problems arise in the fact the Jackets match up better against the Pack’s offensive strengths.
Once again the Pack’s poor defense shows, even against a poor offensive team.
Georgia Tech is a team the Pack should, and must, beat but basketball is a game of match ups and frankly the Pack just doesn’t match up well against the Jackets starting 5. This may come down to how well State’s bench performs.
KenPom likes the Pack by 7.
• Georgia Tech has split its last eight ACC road games, winning at Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Miami and Boston College in that stretch. The Yellow Jackets won only three times in 36 ACC road games before that dating back to the 2008-09 season.
• NC State has won the last three meetings against Tech after the Yellow Jackets pulled off an 82-71 win over the Wolfpack on Jan. 11, 2012, which was the first encounter between Brian Gregory and Mark Gottfried as the teams’ head coaches.
• NC State swept the season series with Tech for the first time since 2008-09, capturing an 83-70 Wolfpack victory at the PNC Arena in Raleigh and a 70-57 win at McCamish Pavilion.
• The teams have split the last 12 meetings following a seven-game Tech skid. The Yellow Jackets have won twice at PNC Arena during that stretch, while the Wolfpack have won three times in Atlanta.
• Tech is 22-16 against the Wolfpack in Atlanta, including one home-court meeting that was played at the Omni in 1986 and one at Philips Arena in 2012.
• Since it joined the ACC, Tech is 29-40 against NC State, including regular-season and tournament.
• The Jackets are 9-30 against NC State in Raleigh, including a 2-10 mark at PNC Arena.
• Tech is 3-3 against NC State in ACC Tournament games, the last meeting occurring in 2003 in a 71-65 Wolfpack victory in Greensboro. The Jackets won first-round games in 1996 in Greensboro
(88-73) and 1990 in Charlotte (76-67).
Magic Number: 65
NC State is 12-2 when they score 65 or more points this season. (NCCU, WFU)
NC State is 6-7 when they allow 65 or more points this season.
Georgia Tech is 10-3 when they score 65 or more points this season. (Dayton, Mississippi, Pitt)
Georgia Tech is 3-7 when they allow 65 or more points this season.