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Georgia Tech vs. Charlotte: The Advanced Preview

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We've got the advanced metrics to breakdown tonight's last non-conference matchup and hopefully give a solid prediction that can win you some MONAY

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Georgia Tech (8-3) Charlotte (6-5)
Power Rating 18.4 17.7
RPI .598 (38) .585 (50)
Effective FG % 46.6% 51.2%
Offensive Rating 106.3 111.9
Defensive Rating 98.9 111.4
Rating Differential +7.6 +0.5
Defensive Rebound % 77.7% 67.2%
Offensive Rebound % 40.1% 33.6%
Field Goals Assisted % 12.9% 14.2%
Turnover Ratio 16.3% 15.3%
Foul Line % 22.8% 23.4%
Average Pace 75.1 78.2
Play Percentage 44.1% 45.3%

Using these advanced metrics, we can get a clearer picture of how this game will play out. The power rating is a statistic designed by me that adds in the four factors ( eFG%, OffReb%, TO%, FL%), RPI, a true measure for strength of schedule and the rating differential. If any of the other categories seem confusing, I’ve attached a Basketball Stat Glossary here.

After this non-conference slate I’m fairly certain Yellow Jacket fans are 100 percent done with mid-major teams. After losing to USC-Upstate and Dayton, it’s fair to say the smaller school’s have not been kind to Georgia Tech. Dayton dismantled the Jackets with hot three point shooting, and tonight’s opponent is capable of doing the very same.

Charlotte is a team that is much better than their record indicates, while Georgia Tech is a team that doesn’t appear as good as their record is. These games are always a tough call, because the Jackets would seem have better talent but Charlotte could just be better coached. Thank goodness for the metrics!

Charlotte Overview

Charlotte is a weird team in terms of RPI. Their wins for the most part are unimpressive, yet they only have one really bad losses to speak of. This came in a 77-58 romp to Miami on November 23rd, but the 49er's came back two days later played the Canes in a closer 77-74 loss. Charlotte's best wins to speak of are against Penn State (RPI 38) and South Carolina (RPI 82),  both whom are average teams in power five conferences.

As mentioned earlier, the 49er’s are a great shooting team. With an eFG% of over 50 percent and scoring over 111 points per 100 possessions, Charlotte will be very similar to Dayton in the way they play offense. You’ll see a lot of movement around the three-point line and a lot of outside shooting. Georgia Tech has struggled with these kinds of teams in 2014; so playing zone will not be in the team’s best interest.

However, what Charlotte has in offense they severely lack in defense. They give up nearly the same amount of points per 100 possessions as they score, giving them a slim differential of +0.5. Also, despite having two seven footers the 49er’s are a surprisingly average rebounding team. They are right where they need to be on the offensive boards, but struggle on the defensive glass. It’ll be key for Demarco Cox and Charles Mitchell to clean the boards against a volume shooting team.

Georgia Tech Overview

It’s not an encouraging sign for Georgia Tech that they only shoot a 46.4 eFG%, as the three-point shot has been killing their offensive efficiency this season (24 percent 3pFG as a team). They’ve been able to make up for it with strong offensive rebounding, as the Jackets pull down over 40 percent of their missed shots. Brian Gregory would be wise to lay off the long-range shooting and stick to inside scoring.

Something surprising off of Tech’s stat sheet was how little they get to the foul line despite being an inside scoring team. Less than 23 percent of Tech’s possessions end in trips to the foul line and only 63 percent of the time can the Jackets convert their shots. Even worse, Mitchell, Cox and Marcus Georges-Hunt combine to shoot 62 percent from the free throw line. Charlotte would be wise to employ the hack-a-Mitchell strategy to have a chance.

You’d think Georgia Tech would have the clear talent advantage in this game, but as PER indicates that is not the case. Take a look at the projected starting five:

Georgia Tech Charlotte
G: Travis Jorgenson - 5.3 PER G: Braxton Ogbueze - 15.1 PER
F: Marcus Georges-Hunt - 12.6 PER G: Pierria Henry - 14.4 PER
F: Charles Mitchell - 15.8 PER G: Terrance Williams - 9.8 PER
F: Quinton Stephens - 9.8 PER F: Willie Clayton - 11.7 PER
C: Demarco Cox - 15.3 PER C: Mike Thorne Jr. - 13.6 PER
Team Average - 11.1 PER Team Average - 13.2 PER

Tech does have the best player on the court in Mitchell, but Charlotte has the better starting five and the better overall team. Don’t let the 6-5 record fool you, the 49er’s will come to play in Atlanta.

The Prediction

Charlotte definitely has the potential to make things hairy for the Yellow Jackets tonight. If Gregory decides to play zone against this kind of shooting team like he did against Dayton, it could be another long night. If Tech sticks to man defense and inside scoring, i.e. what they’re good at, they can win this game by a close margin of:

Line: Ga. Tech (-5) via sportsbook.ag

Georgia Tech 84, Charlotte 81