GT needs to win out. GT's quest to win out takes us through the village of College Park, Maryland. Paul Hewitt is 1-8 all time in College Park. Maryland is 11-3 at home this season including a 5-0 mark against ACC competition. Needless to say, the odds are not great for the Jackets. However, the Jackets and Terps match up is closer than it may appear in the ACC standings. Last season, a terrible Georgia Tech squad found themselves swept by the Terps by a combined 8 points (factor in 2008's loss by 2 and the teams appear even more evenly matched).
Tech is facing a challenge in the Terps but it will not be an insurmountable feat to defeat the Terps at home. A quick look at the stats shows that Maryland is a great defensive team like Georgia Tech and is very good at team offense. They lead the conference in 3-pointer % and assist:turnover ratio.
Ultimately, I think the game will be close. Georgia Tech needs to finish strong in order to win. In losses this season, we've seen epic collapses in the second half. It's a combination of poor handling, poor shooting, and just bad decision making down the stretch. GT has been in 5 single possession games in the last 10 games. One turnover going either way changed the final result. Another interesting fact is that GT is 8-1 in games where our turnover margin is positive (1st game against FSU is only loss). The name of the game is turnovers and GT has to limit them against the Terps big time (#4 in conference turnover margin).
Personnel-wise, I think Tech stacks up with everyone in the conference. We've got a lot of youth but our depth has been shining late in the season. Guys like Shumpert and Udofia appear to have hit a wall while guys who got less PT early in the season like GR, Jr. and Mo Miller have stepped it up big time. In matching up with Greivis, the key is not shutting him down, it's preventing him from involving his teammates. Amazingly, he averages 18.9 points per game in losses and wins. The difference between Greivis' losing efforts versus his winning efforts is that he shoots about 2 more shots per game in losses and hands out 2 less assists per game (aka he's gonna get the same amount of possessions no matter what). We've gotta play disciplined man defense to force Greivis into more ball-hogging-type scenarios. When you're talking about the #2 assist guy in the ACC, that's a pretty big challenge but I think a constant barrage of Hotel Hewitt might be able to stymie Greivis.
What are your thoughts and predictions for the Maryland game on Saturday? Is it too soon to make samurai sword jokes?